Field Blending: Tips from the Pros

People blend wines for many reasons and are able to fine tune their blends by drawing the best characteristics from each wine blended. For centuries winemakers have started their blends right in the vineyard, growing a combination of grapes that stick together through out the entire process. Crushed, macerated and fermented together, these grapes come together in a technique known as field blending. Here’s some insight from two pros who live by the field blend. Jeff Gaffner grew up in Sonoma, California and has been in the wine business most of his life. He started Saxon Brown Wines in Sonoma County in 1997 and is a consultant to numerous wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Field blending is a practice that has been around forever. The idea is simple: The winemaker actually plants the blend in the field. For example, vines of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Alicante Bouchet and Carignane are co-mingled in the field, picked together and co-fermented. Saxon Brown’s vineyard was planted 100 years ago as a field blend. It was the way things used to be done, prior to