Producing a Perfect Pinot
Winemaker and alumnus Wes Hagen ’91 admits—the first and only wine that ever brought him to tears was a glass of 1972 Chapelle-Chambertin—one he came across in a smoky little bistro in France.
This wine was the beginning of his journey to produce one of the top 30 ranked pinots in California by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Hagen, who is a vineyard manager and winemaker for Clos Pepe Vineyard in northern Santa Barbara County, wrote an article featured in the April 2010 edition of LA Times Magazine.
“Transverse Transcendence: How the Central Coast’s Santa Rita Hills came to produce a world-class pinot noir” is a charming glimpse into the love and care that goes into the creation of Hagen’s perfect pinot noir.
The Redlands graduate’s passion for the art of winemaking is transpired through his eloquent descriptions of how the Santa Rita Hills provide ideal conditions for pinots.
As the Clos Pepe winemaker, Hagen is involved in every aspect of winemaking—from the design, planting, farming and harvest of the wine to the wine production.
Though the art may seem glamorous, Hagen points out that there is always pressure involved when attempting to create a perfect pinot noir.
But, he only fools readers for a second before he jokes, “fortunately, we have plenty to drink to remind ourselves that we love this life and that the attempt to make a perfect pinot noir requires nothing less than all our passion.”
This delightful snippet into Hagen’s enchanting journey will leave readers loss in a momentary lapse, entertaining the idea of an escape to the vineyard for a glass of his pinot noir.
Hagen acted as the director of the Santa Barbara County Fair wine competition from 2002-04, judges the LA County Fair Wine Competition, the Riverside International and the Long Beach Grand Cru.
Hagen was awarded a Central Coast Winegrower’s Association Grower of the Year award in 2001-02.