Verdad is devoted to making Spanish grape varietal wines that express true varietal character as well as the vineyard’s terroir. The grapes are sourced from organic and biodynamic vineyards and are minimally processed in the cellar. The philosophy behind the winemaking is to grow the best fruit possible, pick at optimum balance and let the wines reflect what the vineyards have created.
There are two primary vineyards that Verdad sources from. The Ibarra-Young Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley, which is organically farmed and the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in Edna Valley, which is Demeter certified biodynamic.
The wines are made at the Clendenen Lindquist Winery in Santa Maria, home to Qupé Wine Cellars and Au Bon Climat Winery.
Louisa Sawyer Lindquist has worked in the wine industry since her senior year of college. Her experience is in all aspects of the wine business, including restaurants, retail, wholesale, import-export, national sales and winemaking.
Louisa makes the wines for Verdad Wine Cellars, which she started in 2000. The Verdad wines are created from Tempranillo, Albariño, Grenache and a small amount of Graciano. In addition she makes Pinot Noir under the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard label which is a collaboration with her husband Bob.
In addition to winemaking, Louisa markets and sells Qupé Wine Cellars wines, which are made by her partner and cutting edge visionary, winemaker Bob Lindquist.
In 2005 Louisa collaborated on planting the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in Edna Valley which is Demeter certified biodynamic as well as organically certified. The vineyard is producing beautiful, high quality grapes for both Verdad and Qupé wineries.
The wines Louisa produces are native yeast fermented, believing that great wines are produced from grapes of the highest quality with the least amount of manipulation. She strives to produce pure, expressive and balanced wines that convey the flavors of the unique cool climate vineyards sites she sources from on the Central Coast.
The grapes for the Verdad wines are grown on our estate Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in Edna Valley which is farmed using biodynamic agriculture practices and at the Ibarra-Young Vineyard which is organically farmed.
The Ibarra-Young vineyard is a 14-acre vineyard located just south of Los Olivos in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. It is a category UC Davis Region II with cool overcast mornings turning warm during the day and cool at night, often with a 30 – 40 degree day/night temperature difference.
The vineyard was originally planted in 1971 by Charlotte Young and her vineyard manager Miguel Ibarra to 10 acres of cabernet sauvignon and was contracted to Firestone Vineyard. By 1979 that contract had expired and there was more demand for white grapes so Charlotte grafted over most of the vineyard to sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc
Around this same time Charlotte got involved in a winery cooperative with a group of other small growers called Los Viñeros and a winemaking facility was built on the west side of Santa Maria. From 1980-1984 almost all of Charlotte’s grapes went into the blends at Los Viñeros. By 1985 Los Viñeros was starting to falter and Charlotte was having trouble selling her grapes.
Charlotte was thinking about tearing her vines out . . . Bob Lindquist heard about this and offered to lease the vineyard and graft it over to Rhone varieties. Bob even made a chenin blanc in 1985 from Charlotte’s grapes to show his good faith and help Charlotte with the transition.
Between 1986 and 1989 the 10 acres were grafted over to 4 acres of marsanne, 3 acres of syrah, 1.75 acres of mourvedre and 1.25 acres of Viognier . . . all on those original cabernet roots!
Between 1996 and 2000, 4 more acres were planted to albariño and tempranillo for Louisa Sawyer Lindquist’s Spanish grape varietal project Verdad. In 2009 another Spanish variety, graziano, was added to the vineyard.
Since 1999 the vineyard has been farmed organically and is still farmed by Miguel Ibarra. Miguel is now in his mid 70’s and every year threatens to retire and move back to Mexico, but thankfully he keeps coming back. He knows each one of these vines and just has an incredible farming touch.
Sadly, Charlotte Young passed away in 2008, just shy of her 92nd birthday (there is a dedication to her on the back of Qupé’s Los Olivos Cuvée label), but her children and grandchildren carry on. Her legacy lives in the vines and the wonderful wines that come from this special spot.
Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard
The Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard is located on Orcutt Road in the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo. About forty acres are under cultivation on an 80-acre ranch. The vines were planted in 2005 on rolling hillsides. The vineyard is an upper region I on the UC Davis Heat Summation Scale which translates into a long, cool growing season. During the summer the marine layer rolls in during the evening and burns off in the late morning. Average daytime high temperatures in the summer are in the mid 70’s, lows are in the low 50’s. It is this cool climate and long growing season that produces grapes with naturally high acidity and a broad spectrum of flavors.
The soils at the Sawyer Lindquist vineyard are composed of alluvial soils made up of decomposed sedimentary rock with lots of mudstone and a bit of limestone. The pH is low. The vineyard is hilly with some steep hillsides. The vines are cordon trained and spur pruned. All the grapes are hand picked during harvest.
The vineyard has three large ‘beneficial plant gardens’ which are located in different areas of the vineyard. The gardens are filled with low maintenance native plants that have been proven to attract bees, butterflies, ladybugs and other helpful insects.
There are six owl boxes located throughout the vineyard. These boxes are where owls nest and live. The owls are natural predators to gophers and ground squirrels and their residence on the vineyard help us reduce the overall population of these pests. During the vines dormant months, we have a flock of about 150 – 250 sheep grazing through out the vineyard to help with the weeding and fertilizing of the ground between the vines.
The planted grape varieties are: tempranillo, albariño, grenache, pinot noir, marsanne and syrah. The vines were planted on raw land and the vineyard has been farmed using biodynamic farming practices from the very beginning.
Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard was Demeter certified biodynamic in 2009. Also in 2009 the wines from this vineyard were made according to the Demeter biodynamic standards and certified. 2008 was the first vintage from the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard.
As winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist and her husband Bob Lindquist, prepared to plant the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard (SLV) in 2005, they made a commitment to sustainable farming. Their good friend Steve Beckmen (Beckmen Vineyards) had been growing superior fruit at his Purisima Mountain Vineyard using biodynamics – a system devised in the 1920s that treats the vineyard as a self-contained, living organism. The couple was intrigued, despite the fact that so much about biodynamics seemed difficult to understand.
During the winter of 2004/2005, heavy rains delayed preparations for planting the vineyard and in May, Bob traveled to the United Kingdom on a pre-scheduled sales trip.
“Fate came into play,” Bob remembers. “My agent picked me up and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but Andre Ostertag and Dominique Lafon are doing a seminar on biodynamics this afternoon. Would you like to attend with me?’ I thought, ‘This was meant to be!'”
The seminar was an eye-opener for Bob, who then shared dinner and several bottles of wine with Andre and Dominique. The two explained to Bob that the best way to implement biodynamic techniques was to start before the vineyard was planted.
The next day over lunch, Bob questioned Andre about biodynamics, including some of the more arcane aspects, such as making soil preparations by filling cow horns with combined ingredients and burying them underground for specified lengths of time. Andre, who offered logical and scientific explanations for all of the tenets of biodynamics, convinced Bob of their efficacy.
Upon returning home, Bob contacted Philippe Armenier, the French biodynamic consultant who works with Steve Beckmen. Armenier helped Bob and Louisa devise a plan for the new vineyard, and they were able to incorporate their initial biodynamic preparations into the soil before the vines were planted.
In 2008, the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard yielded its first real crop and even on such young vines, the fruit showed extraordinary promise. A year later the vineyard earned certification as both Demeter Biodynamic and Stellar Organic, official recognitions that formalized Bob and Louisa’s commitment to biodynamic farming.