Tom Beckmen might be best known for his career as a music man, though he wasn’t working with 76 trombones (ba-dum-CH!). After founding Roland Corporation U.S., Tom became a pioneer in the electronic instrument and music business – think synthesizers and keyboards – predicting a future where music and computer technology would be forever intertwined.
As the son of a cattle buyer, Tom grew up working on a Chicago-area ranch, which instilled in him an early appreciation for the land and soil health, and an aptitude for all things agricultural. In 1994, Tom, his wife Judy and their son Steve started Beckmen Vineyards after taking on a 40-acre winery near Los Olivos, California, in the Santa Ynez Valley. Two years later, they purchased an unplanted 365-acre ranch in nearby Ballard Canyon, tending a total of 150 acres of grapevine.
These two separate vineyards possess dramatically different soils and microclimates. The Purisima Mountain Vineyard in Ballard Canyon is mostly clay and clay loam, with some gravel and a really unique limestone subsoil. This type of subsoil is typically found in Rhône regions of France, holding back vines and their fruit from growing large and robust, which actually leads to a more intensely flavored wine. These conditions are most suitable for their white wine production: Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Syrah, etc. The Beckmen Winery Estate sits in a wide valley that tends to be warmer than the canyon property, because it’s at a lower elevation and further inland. This area is best for their Cabernet Sauvignon, though they do sprinkle in some of the white varieties here as well.
Harvest time at Beckmen Vineyards usually starts in September and runs through mid-November… all under starry skies! Yes, their team hand-picks each grape cluster through the night to ensure the lowest possible temperature, which captures peak flavors (and saves the pickers from working in the blazing California sun).
Wines are aged in primarily French oak barrels, with some American and Hungarian oak as well. Robust wines like Syrah are aged in newer oak to because it can handle picking up much more of those flavors; more delicate wines like Grenache spend time in older barrels.
The winery’s 2007 Estate Grenache was poured at the 2009 White House State Dinner. We can’t say no to the Presidential seal of approval.