The philosophy of Black Ankle really encompasses three basic elements:
1) Make delicious wines that express the unique flavors and atmosphere of the land on which they are grown.
2) Make those wines from grapes grown only by us, on our farms.
3) Grow those grapes in as sustainable manner as possible.
We strive to produce wines that express the land in which they are grown, enhance the food they accompany, and (most important of all) are a joy to drink.
We have just the right mix of rolling hills, rocky, low-fertility soils, regular breezes, sunshine, and rain to be the home of some truly delicious wines. In pursuit of this, every grape for every bottle of wine that we produce is grown on our farm - and always has been. Through the years our vineyard crew has worked to make sure every vine has the optimum balance of fruit and leaves, with the best possible sun and wind exposure. Each of our now 80,000 vines is hand-tended at least eight times each season as we make small adjustments to crop load, leaf density and fruit position. We are so humbled by this property, and do our very best to showcase it in every bottle.
We love our little corner of the world. From the time we bought this 146-acre piece of land we knew we had found a special place; an historic farmhouse nestled in a valley between two beautiful hills with expansive views of the mountains from the top. We also knew that we wanted to change the whole character of the place by planting acres and acres of grapevines and inviting the public in to share the experience of the farm, but we had to find a way to do all of that while making it even better than it was when we found it. We decided to embrace that challenge with a basic philosophy: use what we have and keep it simple. This little idea (it seemed little at the time, anyway) has had an enormous effect on what BAV has become. Need to frame buildings to store barrels and host customers? Why not use our own trees and not bring in truckloads of boards? Need electricity? Why not generate it onsite from our own sunshine? Need to reduce the heating/cooling load on the buildings? Why not use our home-grown straw for insulation and build window overhangs to block the sun in the summer but not in the winter? Want ripe, healthy grapes? Why not let wind and sun into the fruit zone by pulling leaves so we can minimize the need to spray? Sometimes we feel a little bit old-fashioned in the way we do things, but choosing simple over complex, local over trucked in, and working with the land instead of against it has gotten us to the place we are today.
Building With What Our Farm Had to Offer
Outside of the vineyard, we also put a lot of love, thought, hard work, & pieces of our farm into the construction. We tried to make the best use of the resources we had available to us. We strived to mirror our philosophy goals in our tasting room by creating a comfortable, environmentally-friendly space, built primarily from materials grown on or found on our farm - including wood, straw, soil, rain, and sun.