September 9th – red grape sugar sampling results:
Merlot – 25.0 B – brown shoots & seeds, nice juice fruitiness, will be harvesting this week!
Zinfandel – 23.5 B – classic large berried bunches still need a bit of time for that classic Zin character development.
Finished all of our white grapes last week and we are looking forward to beginning our mid-season red varieties Merlot & Zinfandel. The Merlot was winery tested at 24.2 yesterday…so our testing results from tomorrow’s testing should let us know how the warm weather this weekend has affected sugar accumulation!
On Saturday we finished our Viognier harvest with fruit harvested for Bill Arbios and his Praxis Cellars label. We were so happy to hear from him that the 2012 Viognier (50% of our fruit) won a “Gold Medal” and “Best of Class” at the 2013 Indy International Wine Competition.
We poured our Estate 1856 wines at the Family Winemakers Tasting in San Francisco in August and he shared a taste with me from a bottle that he was there to show to the trade and consumers. Strikingly varietal, with tropical fruit notes and a long flavorful finish. Highly recommended!
Our 2.2 acre Viognier block is planted to two clones: clone 1 and clone 642. It is trained on a spur pruned cordon trellis with an extension arm on the afternoon side to prevent sunburn. We do remove leaves on the morning side for sun exposure as this variety responds with great flavor intensity when kissed by a bit of sunlight. Viognier is a very flavorful and complex varietal…with hints of tropical fruit, peaches, apricots blended into an intensely perfumed wine that has great depth and lingering mouthfeel!
This week we dove into our Chardonnay…harvesting it for Kendall Jackson. I really love the modifications that we made to our VSP trellis system…we added a high 24″ crossarm to create a “V” effect in the upper canopy…allowing the shoots to slightly spread out close to the cordon next to their spur position…and really spread out at the top! With our row orientation…SW by NE…it provides nice morning sun exposure while providing afternoon shade.
Merlot – 23.4 B (update: 24.2 B on Saturday – winery test)
Malbec – 19.5 B
Cabernet (winery test) – 20.0 B
We have finished our white grapes…nicely complete before this current heat wave. We are going to see a sugar bump from the heat in our red varieties but I am hoping that we can keep the later varieties Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot on the vine for about another two weeks. The Merlot though is quite close with phenologically ready shoots and seeds…so it will probably be ready sometime this coming week.