What is Ojo Brilloso? That’s a question our Viticulturist Geoff Hall found himself asking when he joined our team in 2017. As he began learning about our estate vineyards and the talented 25 person in-house vineyard team that farms them, Geoff would often hear the team say ‘Ojo Brilloso’ (ō-hō bree-ō´-sō), which translates to ‘shiny eye’ or, loosely, ‘nice observation.’ Geoff quickly realized that it was these ‘nice observations’ made by people who were inspired and had intimate knowledge of each block of our vineyards that are truly the building blocks of Argyle’s success. Celebrating this passion, respect and dedication is what the Ojo Brilloso concept is all about. Our people.
For this first year of the Ojo Brilloso program, we highlight our three Vineyard Supervisors: Francisco Ponce, Jose Sanchez and Hector Cabrera. Each was asked to select a small Pinot Noir block in their vineyard that they recognized could be coaxed to make a wine that was reflective of their connection to the vineyard and pride in their work.
Learn more about the wines and purchase the set here.
Francisco Ponce, Spirit Hill Vineyard
With Argyle since 2004
Francisco chose a block of Clone 115 Pinot Noir planted in 2008, located in the southwest corner of the Spirit Hill Vineyard at an elevation of 840 feet. This is the windiest and most exposed part of Spirit Hill. “These blocks are not the strongest. They require work because the ground has a lot of rocks. The rocks retain heat and hinder the growth of the plant. Clusters are medium sized — quality over quantity. The Ojo Brilloso project makes me proud. We are very proud that our phrase Ojo Brilloso is the name of the entire program.”
Jose Sanchez, Knudsen Vineyard
With Argyle since 2008
Jose chose a parcel of Clone 115 Pinot Noir that was planted in 2000. It sits in one of the viticultural sweet spots of the Knudsen Vineyard, at an elevation of 675 feet. He selected a block “where the land is different. In these blocks we removed some grapes and removed the leaves in the middle. Inside, the grapes ripen faster and have more sugar than the outside ones. It is a very interesting mix. We leave the outside leaves for shading. The Ojo Brilloso project is a sample of dedication, passion and respect that immigrants have for their work — it is payment to the plants for everything they give us.”
Hector Cabrera, Lone Star Vineyard
With Argyle since 2012
Hector chose a parcel of Clone 2A Pinot Noir that was planted in 2002 and sits in the South facing ‘panhandle’ of Lone Star Vineyard at an elevation of 325 feet. This block’s tiny clusters were cultivated by Hector to ensure that they were perfectly open and spaced, allowing them to soak up all of the early morning Cascade sunshine. “These blocks are my favorites. They are on a piece of land on a hill. It is a beautiful landscape. The plants are all different, but the berries and clusters are almost identical. We are able to observe the different branches, but the same fruit. I get goosebumps every time I see it. The Ojo Brilloso project is a way of reaching people and letting them know a little about our team.”
The original artwork featured on the labels was created by Eduardo Soto, who is one of the 2020 Argyle Art of Sparkling scholarship recipients. Eduardo is deeply influenced by the artwork of the Mexican Muralist Movement.
Spirit Hill, Knudsen, and Lone Star Vineyards are portrayed in Winter, Harvest and Spring seasons. Throughout these rolling hills there are many differences within the soil, sunlight, and humidity which can present themselves to the workers of this land. The communication between the workers and the earth is crucial to the practice of growing wine, an ability that is gained through wisdom and experience.
Contributions from the Ojo Brilloso program are being made to ¡Salud!, AHIVOY and The Roots Fund. In addition, Argyle will be working with Executive Directors of the AHIVOY and The Roots Fund organizations to identify opportunities for qualified participants to have access to Argyle programs and people with the underlying objective of creating more opportunity for people of color in the wine industry.