Deep Sky Vineyard
The Elgin vineyard was planted in 2017 when we opened the tasting room. We wanted our guests to have an on-vineyard experience and be able to taste the grapes that are used in our wines. The property is at 5000 feet with cool cloudy weather and limestone soil similar to Bordeaux. We planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carménère which are all Bordeaux varieties so they should grow well. There is also a chance of frost damage in the spring and these varieties are late budders. It is challenging to grow in this area due to the possibility for summer hail, sunburn on the grapes from the solar radiation, bug and bunch rot pressure from rain and hungry birds. However, the fruit from Elgin is worth struggling with all the issues. The berries are naturally small, bursting with varietal flavors and have a naturally high acid content. Besides, we wanted Bordeaux varieties to blend with our Malbec so we could make a “Four Forces” wine.
We just couldn’t get enough with our first vineyard experience in Argentina; literally. The growing cycle for grapes starts with bud break and ends with harvest. In Argentina, bud break is in October and harvest is in April. In Arizona, bud break is in April and harvest is in September. So rather than getting six months off we decided it would be more fun to work all year long and Deep Sky Vineyard was born!
Deep Sky is a 20 acre boutique vineyard located just south of Willcox, Arizona. From the start we had one goal – to prove great grapes could be grown in Arizona. As vineyard owners we believe that “80% of the wine is made in the field.” This means that great wine begins with great fruit and great fruit requires a lot of attention. Our vineyard manager, Genaro Alba, and his team oversee all aspects of both the Willcox and Elgin vineyards. He grows some of the best grapes in the state which requires a tremendous attention to any issues before they become problems.
There are 15,000 vines and each one is touched at least 5 times a season as we: prune, leaf–pull, shoot thin, drop fruit, and finally harvest. It’s this relentless attention to detail and perseverance that drives us every day to meet our goal.
At Deep Sky we grow Malbec and most of the Rhone varietals. Our Rhone reds include Grenache (2 clones), Mouvedre, Syrah (2 clones), Petite Sirah and Counoise while our Rhone white is a Viognier.
We planted on the denser side with 8 feet between rows and 5 feet between plants. Although this requires a specialty tractor to fit between rows, we feel it improves our grape quality, our single goal. Grapes like to struggle and this gives them more competition from their neighbors.
In 2022 we harvested over 62 tons of fruit and sold grapes to some of the best known wineries in the state.
So why the name Deep Sky? On a dark clear night on the vineyard all you have to do is look up to find the answer. It’s in the billions of stars that represent trillions of opportunities. Endless and limitless are the two words that come to mind. The same can be said for wine. It’s all about exploration.
Come explore our wines with us and see if you can find the difference between an Argentinian Malbec and an Arizona Malbec.
Deep Sky Vineyard
Asmundson Family Vineyard
Our vineyard is located just east of the majestic Andes Mountains in Uco Valley, Argentina. With mountains topping 20,000 feet in elevation, Uco Valley is not only beautiful but is also one of the premier viticulture centers in Argentina. We are part of a much larger project, The Vines of Mendoza, which has 1,500 acres planted which are owned by 130 individuals from around the world. This gives us access to world renowned winemakers and state of the art winemaking facilities to ensure we deliver a superior product year after year.
Argentina is known for Malbec and this greatly influenced our decision to plant 100% Malbec grapes. But with 1,500 acres planted we have access to many varieties from our neighbor’s vineyards. We always head to the vineyard in January to barrel taste and participate in blending sessions with our winemaker to create LAKAWA. To label a wine Malbec, it must be made with at least 80% Malbec grapes. In the past, we’ve blended small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Merlot to add depth to our wine without exceeding the 20% level. Our 2013 vintage was the first year we were 100% Malbec!
In January 2014 we discovered and fell in love with Torrentes, Argentina’s premier white grape. We decided to buy some of these wonderful grapes from Salta / Cafayate, a wine growing region in northern Argentina nearly a mile above sea level. It is here where the best Torrentes is grown, some of it at vineyards over 8,000 feet in altitude. Our Torrentes is bottled under our YENDOLA label and is a very flavorful wine perfect for a summer evening.