Sugar Testing – Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today’s white grape sugar sampling results:Chardonnay Cluster

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!

By |2017-05-19T21:03:38-07:00August 13th, 2013|Grapegrowing|Comments Off on Sugar Testing – Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pre-Harvest 2013

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.

Chardonnay (very limited)
Sauvignon blanc
Viognier (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.


Things to Know Before You Arrive!

Driving Directions

Making Wine – Where Do You Start?

More later! Brian & Janice

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

Cork “Taint” Info

As chlorine-cleaning compounds have been found to be one of possibly several chlorine-containing substrates that are used by molds to create 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA or “cork taint”), it would seem that we would all know by now to not use these compounds for winery sanitization (especially as there are other, just as effective, products without chlorine available). Unfortunately, the other halogens, bromine, flourine and iodine may be implicated also. Read a thorough review of the subject in this great blog article.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:39-07:00January 30th, 2011|Winemaking|Comments Off on Cork “Taint” Info

Private Preserve

When bottling with a hand corker one can’t pull a vacuum like the winery corkers to remove air from the top of the bottle so why not add a bit of inert gas to achieve the same effect? I love this Private Preserve inert gas blanket spray container! Think about using it after topping demijohns too – this is an extremely convenient product!

By |2011-03-27T15:24:39-07:00January 28th, 2011|Winemaking|Comments Off on Private Preserve

Wine Equipment Upgrades

The theme for this harvest will be how to upgrade equipment to produce better wine! My first recommendation is to get rid of those funky kegs with funky openings that just do not seal well. Though pricey, one cannot go wrong with stainless steel kegs with triclover fittings. Late last year I purchased several from Burgstahler Machine Works in St. Helena and they work like a charm! They don’t have a webpage but are easily reached at (707) 967-0553 where you will find a great selection of sizes.

By |2011-03-27T16:42:21-07:00July 16th, 2010|Winemaking|Comments Off on Wine Equipment Upgrades

Hello Grapegrowing and Winemaking Enthusiasts!

Welcome to the the Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards grapegrowing blog. Our vineyards are located in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County and we are proud to produce great wine grapes using sustainable winegrowing practices. Established in 1856, our family owned vineyard produces premium winegrapes for a number of major wineries and an enthusiastic clientele of home winemakers. Whether you are a new to winemaking or a veteran winemaker, our grapes should provide a solid foundation for your 2009 vintage wines!

My name is Janice Schmidt and I am a a UC Davis trained enologist, who worked for Jordan Vineyard and Winery for 20 years before retiring. I have fun guiding home winemakers in the complex yet rewarding process of making wine.  I hope to use this blog to pass on interesting news about grapegrowing and winemaking gleaned from many different sources to elucidate and educate.

It is still too early to predict when harvest will begin this year. For red grapes, harvest generally begins about six weeks after full veraison (when the grapes turn fully purple). Due to a cooler normal Spring and Summer, as well as significant fog from the California coast, the ripening process is slow yet steady. Due to a three year drought in Northern California, the berries on the clusters are slightly smaller than normal. This generally means that berry flavors are more intense, rich and flavorful. Why? Berry skins contain the flavor compounds that make red wine – the more skin to less juice concentrates flavors.

By |2017-05-19T21:03:39-07:00July 29th, 2009|Welcome|Comments Off on Hello Grapegrowing and Winemaking Enthusiasts!
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