2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair – Red Sweepstakes Win!

HF Sweepstakes 2013
I am thrilled to share that our 2010 Bordeaux Blend won a DOUBLE GOLD medal, BEST OF CLASS and the RED WINE SWEEPSTAKES at the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The award ceremony was this evening and we were so humbled to receive this industry recognition and honor. Our 2011 Bordeaux Blend also received a DOUBLE GOLD in the same category. I’m looking forward to pouring our wine during the Harvest Fair Gala next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 28th, 2013|Winemaking|Comments Off on 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair – Red Sweepstakes Win!

September 2013 Fog

Fog over the vyd 9_10_13
Nice bit of summer fog this morning…especially after the weekend warm weather!

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 10th, 2013|Harvest|Comments Off on September 2013 Fog

Sugar Testing – Monday, September 9, 2013

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.

By |2014-05-09T20:50:27-07:00September 9th, 2013|Harvest|Comments Off on Sugar Testing – Monday, September 9, 2013

Merlot Getting Closer!

Merlot_9_8_13Finished 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!

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 9th, 2013|Harvest|Comments Off on Merlot Getting Closer!

Harvest – 2013 Viognier

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!

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 8th, 2013|Grapegrowing, Harvest|Comments Off on Harvest – 2013 Viognier

Harvest – 2013 Chardonnay

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.

But the most important effect is the way that the clusters have some room to spread out close to the cordon. Hopefully, you can see in the picture that most clusters are not touching each other…which allows better airflow and helps prevent fungal infections!


By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 7th, 2013|Grapegrowing, Harvest|Comments Off on Harvest – 2013 Chardonnay

Sugar Testing – Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2013 – Tzabaco Rancho red grape sugar sampling results:

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.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 5th, 2013|Grapegrowing, Harvest|Comments Off on Sugar Testing – Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Harvest – 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Well…what a week!  We started harvesting for our wineries Tuesday, August 27th and harvested almost every morning for our four wineries and home winemakers until the following Tuesday, September 3rd. The fruit looked great and the wineries reported great flavors, sugar and acid levels.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00September 4th, 2013|Grapegrowing, Harvest|Comments Off on Harvest – 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Sugar Testing – Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 20, 2013 – Tzabaco Rancho white grape sugar sampling results:

Chardonnay – 23.2 B
Sauvignon blanc – 23.0 B
Viognier – 20.0 B

Nice increase in sugar content over a very hot week last week that could have seen abnormal heat driven sugar increases but didn’t. The weather should be closer to normal average temps this week…so sugar accumulation may slow a bit…not a problem as we have lots of good weather ahead!

Flavors are great…Chardonnay is again smelling like fresh, crisp new apples while the Sauvignon blanc is showing classic Sauv blanc characters. The Viognier is progressing well….the spicy floral notes will start to shine closer to 24 Brix.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00August 20th, 2013|Grapegrowing|Comments Off on Sugar Testing – Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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