From the Ground Up
Harvest 2013 started a few days ago with the picking of a little Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Sparkling Wine. The past few days, we’ve been picking Valley View Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio in Los Alamos. There are many variables in each year’s harvest and the most difficult thing is having the patience to wait until a grape is at the point of perfection. Weather has a lot to do with many of the decisions made. Three hot days can change your schedule. Providing grapes for ten or more other wineries with ideas of their own affects your schedule as well, and then our winery has to be fed a steady amount of grapes to make room for the grapes still to come. At this point, my mind is super saturated with data of the twenty five varieties we grow.
Our work force for harvest is now in place and it needs to pick 40-50 tons a day to meet everyone’s criteria and expectations. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
2010 Chenin Blanc: The forgotten grape. During the white wine boom, many other whites were replaced by Chardonnay, the number one white wine in California with over a 100,000 acres. Chenin Blanc is still a great variety. South Africa has been quite successful with it. At a recent winemaker dinner in Wooster, Ohio, we poured our Chenin Blanc and many there thought it was more than exceptional, saying it was great to see the variety again. We continue to sell a small amount in our label and sell the rest of our production to a winery in Chicago. Our 2010 is lower in alcohol, crisp with a taste of honey and straw. Being grown in a cool climate with high acidity, it has a small amount of residual sugar to balance the acid. This is the style of Vouvray.
2010 Petite Sirah: From our more than 30 year old vines in Los Alamos, Petite Sirah is one of the grapes that cannot tolerate rain at harvest. It will self destruct. Because of that, we thin the crop at veriason, removing clusters that are behind in maturity and where there are multiple bunches on a shoot. We usually end up with just 2 1/2 to 3 tons per acre, which helps to get earlier maturity. Petite Sirah is noted for its dark inky color with skins providing not only color but a large amount of tannin. This wine has both. The amazing part is that, with all this color and tannin, it is soft as silk. Pair this Petite Sirah with lamb, grilled meats, game, and chocolate!
Looking ahead, our Harvest Festival is in October. We’re celebrating with Wine & Cheese Pairings and Winemaker Dinners. Our 10th annual Wine Club Harvest Party is on November 9th.
Don’t forget the wine cruise! The ship is giving several incentives to our group, like big credits to your beverage bill, complimentary specialty restaurant dinners, and a hosted cocktail party. Treat yourself to a break! Make memories.