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Turning Tide - Chenin Blanc, Verdelho - Santa Ynez Valley, CA - 2020
Turning Tide - Chenin Blanc, Verdelho - Santa Ynez Valley, CA - 2020
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Turning Tide - Chenin Blanc, Verdelho - Santa Ynez Valley, CA - 2020

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Savory spicy aromas with citrus peel notes and crisp, bright acidity on the palate and a mineral-driven finish.

VINEYARDS Pacific Ocean breezes rustle the leaves in the two vineyards that provide us with Verdelho and Chenin Blanc. Both vineyards are planted in the alluvial sandy bench of the Santa Ynez River Basin. The coastal fog has a cooling-effect on daytime temperatures, imbuing these white varieties with more depth of flavor without increasing sugars rapidly. The Portuguese variety Verdelho, comes from AJ’s personal vineyard in the Santa Ynez AVA..
ABOUT THE VINTAGE Climate change brought us a very difficult 2020 vintage due to dry conditions, winds and lightening storms. While much of the state had a smoke haze in the atmosphere, the on-shore wines from the ocean blew through Santa Barbara county much of the summer, clearing the air and creating fresh sunny days. The degree-day accumulation in 2020 (a measure of ripening temperatures) were cooler than 2019 but warmer than the 30 year average, meaning the grapes had longer to mature on the vines and they retained a fresh natural acidity. The spring time rains grew healthy vine canopies and shaded the grapes from any hot afternoon sun. Tasting the grapes almost daily as we got closer to harvest, we picked our grapes at the optimum flavor profile, well before the accumulation of higher sugar levels, helping preserve freshness and complexity with lower alcohol.
WINEMAKING Verdelho is known for its nuances of citrus and savory, salinity aromas, originally from the Portuguese island of Madeira. To accentuate this, grapes are cold-macerated on their skins for a rounder texture and are combined in the press with whole clusters of Chenin Blanc grapes picked on the same day. Both varieties are co-fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel delivering a bright, crisp, and refreshing white wine.
APPELLATION: Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, California
COMPOSITION: 66% Chenin Blanc 34% Verdelho
PICK DATE: October 7, 2020
BOTTLING DATE: June 18, 2021
ALCOHOL: 12.5%
pH / T.A.: 3.35 6.4 g/L


Owner, winemaker, environmentalist, and outdoor enthusiast Alisa Jacobson founded Turning Tide in 2018. The first wines were released in December of 2020.
Jacobson (who goes by “AJ”) has followed her passion for agriculture and the sciences from an early age. She was raised in the fertile California Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Growing up in and around farms instilled in her a lifelong desire to find ways to help protect the land and water supply and to educate people about preserving natural resources.
In 2001, upon graduation from UC Davis with a degree in viticulture and enology, Jacobson found work in cellars and winemaking labs in California focused on sparkling wine production. She also ventured to Australia to make Shiraz (and to take deep dives along the Great Barrier Reef!). After returning to California, Jacobson began work at Joseph Phelps, which is where she met Joel and Sarah Gott.
In 2003, the Gotts hired her as their first employee. She helped usher the Joel Gott wine label from obscurity to the globally-recognized iconic brand it is today. Jacobson rose to the rank of VP of Winemaking, overseeing a team of 30, and managing all winery and vineyard operations throughout California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as projects in Argentina, Chile, Italy, France, and New Zealand. Recently, she passed the baton back to Joel and Sarah Gott and set out to forge her own path with a renewed and passionate focus on making wine from sustainably-farmed vineyards in coastal regions.
Today, Jacobson’s primary focus is on Turning Tide Wines. She relocated from Sonoma to San Luis Obispo County, owns two vineyards in the Santa Ynez AVA—one with a decked-out vacation rental house—and is looking to acquire more as she grows her consulting business.
Dedicated to her cause of trying to help the wine industry become more sustainable and climate-forward, she currently sits on the board of the Oregon Wine Council, is co-chair of the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium Program Development Committee, is a peer review panelist for the NW Center for Small Fruits Research proposals, and is the chair of the research committee on the West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force.
Making wines from all over the world has taught Jacobson that wine is made in the vineyard and the healthier the soil and environment, the more alive and vibrant the wine will appear in the glass. She is committed to the goal of showcasing the true essence of the grapes she harvests, all while respecting the elements each vineyard site provides—and helping turn the tide on how vineyards are farmed around the globe.
The most exciting moment for me, as a winemaker, is experiencing the true expression of the fruit from each vineyard site, as it appears in the glass—poured from a bottle that began as grapes years earlier.
My winemaking style is to show off, or in some cases, help enhance the essence of each grape variety all while respecting the elements each vineyard site provides. I believe that each bottle of wine should be a reflection of the place it came from.
“I want each bottle to be as expressive, and true to site as possible.”
Turning Tide wines are sourced from vineyards that are distinctly influenced by oceanic fog, which provides a cool, slow-ripening environment. Grapes are picked at naturally lower sugar levels to produce wines with lower alcohol. I believe that lower alcohol levels allow for more complex nuances to shine, particularly the more delicate aromas and flavors that can be overshadowed higher alcohols.
Any oak used for aging purposes is intended to “lift up” the expression of the wine—never to mask it. I also use as little sulphur as possible, because I’ve experienced that with strict, hygienic winemaking practices, the addition of sulphur—which acts as a preservative—is not necessary. Experience has taught me that extra sulphur additions can actually mask some of those more ephemeral aromas and flavors in wine, and with Turning Tide, I want each bottle to be as expressive, and true to site as possible.

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