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.
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.
Chardonnay – 21.5 B
Sauvignon blanc – 19.5 B
Viognier – 18.0 B
The weather is warming up this week…so we may see better sugar accumulation as we return to more normal temperatures after the very cool temperatures over the last two weeks.
The picture of the white grape cluster is from our Chardonnay block!
Welcome to our Pre-Harvest Planning blog post for 2013!
Brian and I look forward to meeting you and sharing our winegrapes with you! To get you ready to experience the vineyard during harvest, we have included a list of links on our website that should help you navigate around the process of getting to Healdsburg, preparing for your visit, crushing and pressing and beginning the process of fermenting these grapes into award winning wine!
Let’s start by reviewing the growing season. This year we had great weather this Spring, during those important days of flowering and fruit development and have a slightly larger than normal crop of winegrapes. With little rain falling during this period, we started our reduced deficit irrigation schedule a bit earlier than normal. Our crew was able to get into the vineyard early to begin shoot thinning and canopy management. We then moved into leaf removal to increase light exposure on just the morning side of the vine rows and are now finishing up final shoot positioning while working to remove errant green clusters as we are at the end of veraison for our red varieties and beyond veraison and into berry softening for our white varieties. Sugar sampling will start next week.
We do have all of our winegrapes available, though some are limited to small amounts for blending.
|WHITE GRAPE AVAILABILITY:
|RED GRAPE AVAILABILITY:
|Chardonnay (very limited)
Malbec (somewhat limited – just for blending)
Petit Verdot (somewhat limited – just for blending)
Zinfandel (very limited – small amounts only)
Petite Sirah (very limited – very small blending amounts only)
European Grapevine Moth Update: We are OUT of the QUARANTINE ZONE!!! Due to extensive governmental efforts to control the spread of these serious pest, no new insects were found in Sonoma County last year. Only a few zones contiguous to Napa County are still in quarantine.
This means that you may transport our grapes to your own crushing/pressing facility with NO permits or other regulatory issues within California. Federal regulations still exist for sales outside of California which we will address on a case by case basis.
More later! Brian & Janice