Ecluse Winery Steve Lock Rob's Uncle Waldo Wright Flying Service
Écluse is the French word for the locks on the canals that gently carve their way through the remarkable French wine countryside and since our last name is Lock, the name Écluse for our wines was born! As home to a San Francisco Chronicle’s Sweepstakes winning Best Red Wine, we at Écluse are dedicated to producing limited production, handcrafted, award-winning wines from our very own Lock Vineyard. Our family owned boutique winery is a true reflection of this special place we call home. We feature Bordeaux and Rhone style wines, as well as our fabulous Zinfandel. Our wines are often described as silky, lush, smooth and approachable when first released, becoming even more complex and elegant as they age. From the beginning our philosophy is that great fruit makes great wine. Having our own small winery onsite gives us the added benefit of picking and crushing small lots throughout the vineyard when the fruit has reached its peak flavors. Having control from the vineyard to the bottle insures that Écluse wines remain the truly remarkable wine that it is today! We invite you to discover the expression of our estate-grown wines while you savor the Ecluse difference. Join us and experience wine tasting the old fashion way, in the barrel room where you may even find Steve, proprietor and winemaker, with the wine thief offering barrel samples!
Nestled in the gently rolling hillside terroir on the desired Westside of the Paso Robles AVA.
- Producing handcrafted, award-winning wines.
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Average Bottle Price
The question most often asked us is the origin of our name, Écluse. Écluse is the French word for the locks on the canals that gently carve their way through the French countryside. We have enjoyed several beautiful barge trips in France ourselves, and since our last name is Lock, the name Écluse for our wines was born. Our label depicts a photo of an “Écluse" we took when we were in France while traveling down the canals through an actual “Écluse”.
Ending up in Paso Robles was an interesting journey for us. As native Californians, wine was an important component in our lives and it certainly remains so today. After spending much of our lives in Southern California, life and other opportunities took us to Whidbey Island, Washington in 1980. Sixteen years later, we visited a close friend here in Paso Robles who was starting his own vineyard. We were so impressed with this beautiful place called the Central Coast, and when Steve helped him plant his vineyard, the seed so to speak was planted! We started seriously exploring the options of relocating here and our quest led to the beautiful 30 acres nestled in an almost hidden little canyon just west of downtown Paso Robles which we now call home.
Establishing the vineyard and tasting the wines that the area’s top winemakers were producing from our Lock Vineyard grapes led us to explore winemaking on our own. Working with some of Paso’s most acclaimed winemakers, it seemed a natural progression for Steve to go from grower to winemaker as we ventured into our own Estate driven Écluse Winemaking.
We started Winemaking in 2001 and our Wine Club in 2002 with a case production of only 175 total cases produced and less than 50 Club Members. We look back on this time with a smile as we have an original Club Member who loves to tell the story that we sent out our entire first Club shipment to our members with no upfront payment and an invoice enclosed in the shipment asking them to return their check! We were not surprised when they all did! Our wonderful ambassadors are terrific and to this day we are constantly grateful for their loyalty and support!
Our philosophy has always been to use sustained viticulture practices to protect the land and to produce the very best wines from this special terroir we have here at Lock Vineyard. Giving back is a very important aspect of who we are which is why we support Dogs for the Deaf through our wonderful wine, Blind Dog , created in 2009, in honor of own special vineyard mascots, and blind dogs, Toby and Bingo.
It has been exciting to watch Lock Vineyard and Écluse Wines grow and flourish after all our hard work and dedication. To have the fruits of your labor so appreciated and enjoyed by people around the country is truly humbling and we cannot be more thankful for everyone's loyalty and support in this journey of ours.
We invite you to join us in our modest tasting room amongst the barrels to discover the Écluse experience!
Practices & Techniques
We have always believed that in order to create great wine, you have to start with great fruit. We began as growers ourselves, sourcing our fruit to local, prestigious winemakers. Steve decided to produce a few barrels of our Lock Vineyard fruit by using a minimalistic winemaking approach. Then after winning several awards and medals for our 2000 vintage of amateur wines, Steve decided to take the plunge and produce the first vintage of our Écluse Syrah and Écluse Cabernet Sauvignon from our very own Lock Vineyard. This 2001 vintage was released in 2003 and was exceptionally well received. At that time, we didn’t have a winery onsite so we began by making our wines at different facilities where Steve was able to work with some of the most highly renowned winemakers of Paso Robles, including Matt Trevisan (Linne Calodo), Mike Mooney (Chateau Margene), Roger Nicholas (RN Estate) and Scott Hawley (Torrin). This was a great opportunity to not only gain experience and knowledge, but to also make lasting relationships with these distinguished winemakers.
In 2008, we decided to build our own winery on our 30 acre Lock Vineyard. It has proven to be extremely beneficial to have our winery and vineyard in the same location. The first vintage we made onsite produced our most highly allocated wine to date, our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Lock Vineyard, which received the Sweepstakes Award for Best Red Wine from the San Francisco Chronicle, the largest competition of American wines in the world!
Having our own small winery onsite, at Lock Vineyard, gives us the added benefit of picking and crushing small lots throughout the vineyard when the fruit has reached its peak flavors. We are in the vineyard daily, monitoring the development of the fruit. With this approach, we are able to better assess the relationship of the canopy to the fruit load, the amount of sun exposure on both sides of the canopy and we are able to insure that the growing environment in the block of fruit is as ideal as possible. We normally harvest the fruit over a period of several weeks. This gives us better control over the brix levels and allows us to pick the fruit based on the flavor profiles we want which is a huge factor in producing the balanced and complex wine that Ecluse is known for.
When the grapes reach their peak flavors, they are carefully hand harvested and the winemaking process begins. At crush, we use our sorting table, which allows us to sort the fruit both inbound to the destemmer and outbound to the fermentation bins. This allows us to remove any overripe or under ripe fruit, leaves and stems. We use small open top fermentation bins, which are designed for either one ton or one and a half tons of fruit. We use punch downs to aerate the juice and to control temperatures and to add oxygen during the fermentation process, enhancing color and flavor extractions. Once the fermentation is complete, we use a small basket press to press the wine, which is then put into barrels.
Our barrel program consists of one-third new barrels, one-third once used barrels and one-third neutral barrels and we use a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak, each one giving us a different flavor profile and tannin structure, adding to the complexity of our wines.
Part way through the aging process, every barrel is individually evaluated and we begin our blending trials so we can create the best blend based on the flavors each year. This process can take several weeks or months to ensure we have created the best blend possible. Once the blends have been decided upon, they are then racked from the barrels and blended into a tank. The barrels are cleaned and the blends are put back into their barrels for further aging. We feel that this adds to the wonderful layers and balance of our wines. This early blending and further barrel aging of these blends result in a more integrated, well-balanced and mature wine that is extremely approachable on release but will only improve with age.
Not only is Steve in the vineyard daily tending to the grapes, but he handles all the winemaking duties. His passion for making small production wines with our high quality fruit is evident in every bottle. Having this control from the vineyard to the bottle ensures that Écluse will remain the truly remarkable wine that it is today. We invite you to discover the Écluse difference and join us for a memorable tasting experience! Come Savor the Wine that is truly Ecluse!
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Lock Vineyard has become the foundation of our remarkable Écluse Wines. Our quest as a grower began in 1997 when we purchased 30 beautiful acres of gently rolling hillside terrain nestled in the prized hills on the desired Westside of the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA) with such prestigious neighbors as L'Aventure, Terry Hoage and Austin Hope. Our philosophy from the beginning has been that great fruit makes great wine and we knew the soils of Lock Vineyard had the special terroir necessary to produce fabulous fruit. We were excited at the prospect of planting a vineyard that could take advantage of our special location, microclimate and exposure to the northeast, the southeast and the south. Our vineyard is located in an area with an ideal climate for grape growing with high temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night which is perfect for our fruit to reach their peak flavors. Since the soils in our vineyard are quite varied, ranging from calcareous limestone on the hill tops to areas with clay and loam near the bottoms of the gentle hills, we were able to take advantage of the subtleties of the soils by choosing the optimum varietals to plant. Thus Lock Vineyard came to life in 1998 with the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel. In later years we decided to add blending varietals to the vineyard by planting very small blocks (1/2 acre to 1 acre) of Mourvedre, Grenache, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Tannat and Malbec to increase our blending options.
Our first harvest was in 2000 and the grapes from Lock Vineyard became some of the most desired fruit on the Westside. Our winery customers looked to Lock Vineyard for our high quality fruit and specific terroir driven extraordinary grapes. Through the years we have sourced our fruit to some of the most prestigious wineries in Paso Robles including Chateau Margene, RN Estate and Linne Calodo and continue to do so today. Starting out as growers gave us special insight that truly remarkable wine definitely begins in the vineyard. After Steve won several Awards and Medals for our amateur wines, and accolades from friends and family, we decided to "take the plunge." In 2001, we produced a limited bottling of our very own Ecluse Syrah and Ecluse Cabernet Sauvignon to "test the waters." It seemed a natural progression for Steve to go from grower to winemaker. Knowing that the best wines begin in the vineyard, Steve spends a great deal of time there every year.
During the course of a full growing season we are able to pay individual attention to the nearly 25,000 vines that make up Lock Vineyard. The vines are pampered and then stressed when necessary to produce the highest quality of fruit possible given the nature of the terrain and microclimate. We use sustained viticulture practices which involve water conservation with the use of our Elutriate Water System that captures all the water that is used in the winery into a holding tank that produces "compost tea" that is used to irrigate the vines. We also use natural predators for pest control and plant cover crops in the vine aisles to promote the development of friendly insects to minimize the use of any herbicides and pesticides.
Over the course of several years, Steve has had the opportunity to interact with winemakers such as Matt Trevisan (Linne Calodo Cellars), Mike Mooney (Chateau Margene) and Scott Hawley (Torrin). Thus, when the decision was made to expand the Lock Vineyard operation to include winemaking, the knowledge had been laid and friends became consultants.
Gold Medal - 2012 Écluse Zinfandel
Gold Medal - 2012 Écluse Petite Sirah Sereno Vista Vineyard
Silver Medal - 2012 Écluse Syrah Lock Vineyard
Silver Medal - 2012 Écluse "Rendition" Lock Vineyard
Silver Medal - 2011 Écluse Cabernet Sauvignon Lock Vineyard
Silver Medal - Finis Port Style Wine Lock Vineyard