By WineCountry Staff on November 9, 2012 1:34 PM
Benziger Family Winery - Sonoma County, CA Mark it on your calendar, 2012 was a phenomenal growing season...and you
know what that means? Phenomenal wines. We promise you, although you
won't have to wait too long for the whites, the reds will be well worth
By WineCountry Staff on October 2, 2012 11:04 AM
Peju Winery - Napa Valley, CA
On September 27th, Peju Winery located in Napa Valley harvested their first red of the season - Syrah. Grown at their Persephone vineyard, the grape is typically picked on the earlier side and this year was no different. "We are always excited about crushing Syrah since it gives us two wines--a traditional red Syrah as well as a Rose." CLICK HERE tor read full post.
Chateau Julien Wine Estate First grapes of the season for Chate Julien Wine Estate in Carmel, CA (Monterey Wine Country region) were delivered Friday night (Sept. 28th) with a lot of guests watching. Watch a small clip below.
By WineCountry Staff on October 2, 2012 9:29 AM
Napa Valley, CA
Harvest 2012 is off to a great (and tasty) start, with much, much more to go! We officially began harvesting our first grapes, Sauvignon Blanc, on Saturday September 8th. As you can see, our entire crew, led by winemaker Dean Sylvester and Cellar master Fernando Cortez, were Œin the zone¹ ensuring the first grapes of the season were sorted, de-stemmed, crushed and pressed to perfection.
To date we have crushed numerous lots of SB and one of Pinot Noir picked at the peak of ripeness. Meanwhile, Mother Nature has been very helpful in providing textbook Napa Valley autumn days. In fact, it¹s hard to believe even if you live here that it is 45 degrees in the morning and 85 in the mid-afternoon, every day. Reds like Merlot and Cabernet flourish in this weather, which allows the grapes to develop flavor complexity and balance.
We'll begin picking them soon. There are lots of crushing to be done, so please come up, taste a few wines, and let us tour you through the winery. SEE SPECIAL OFFER!
What¹s the best way to celebrate harvest? A Whitehall Lane HARVEST DINNER! Join us at the winery Saturday October 13th, for an al fresco BBQ dinner commemorating the 2012 harvest. CLICK HERE more information, or contact Dustin at 707 963 9454 x 32 or email@example.com.
By WineCountry Staff on October 28, 2011 12:47 PM
Monterey County Wraps Up A Positive - If Unusual - Vintage
October 28, 2011 (Monterey, CA)--"This is my ninth harvest in the area and it has been unlike any that I can recall," says Executive Director for the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association, Rhonda Motil of Monterey County's 2011 growing season. "The growers have all handled Mother Nature's curve balls with the patience and expertise indicative of our winegrowing region."
While growers and vintners throughout Monterey County admit that this has been an out-of-the-ordinary year, lovers of the area's elegant and well-balanced wines will be pleased to learn that the strange growing season has yielded overwhelmingly good quality across its nine AVAs.
"Climactic events like a wet spring, late rain in June, a milder-than-usual summer, and a big rain storm in early October presented us with many challenges, but the fruit coming into the winery is superb," said Matt Shea, Vineyard Manager of Bernardus Winery in the Carmel Valley. "The long summer coupled with adequate soil moisture created the perfect conditions for Pinot Noir on the Central Coast. The loose clusters, small berries, low yields, and long hang time will equate to concentrated wine with lots of depth and flavor."
Harvest is always a nail-biting time for winegrowers, but never more so than in a cool, late year like this one. Why? Early autumn rains can wreak havoc on fruit left on the vine to ripen long into the season, but low sugar levels in cooler years necessitate doing just that. As a result, this year brought fretting throughout wine country over when to pick versus when to roll the dice and hope for the best.
In some instances, grapes - especially whites and lighter reds - were harvested a bit behind schedule with little incident, while in others, rain fell on crops that were awaiting that extra bit of sunshine that never came. Here are insights from the harvest trenches on the peculiarity of the 2011 season.
By WineCountry Staff on August 11, 2009 10:28 AM
It's early, but for some vineyards crush has already begun. On August 10th, in the dead of the night (3 am to be exact), Hunter Farms of Sonoma Valley began harvesting this season's first pinot noir.
Although the unusually cool weather has many Californians crying "what happened to summer?", it is actually perfect weather for growing grapes. More surprising for Hunter Vineyards is the seemingly increased quantity of grapes being harvested. According to the Press Democrat "Instead of the 15.3 tons delivered last year (to Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma), the same 5.5 acre vineyard produced 21.5 tons, a stunning 40% percent increase". Click here for full article.
By WineCountry Staff on September 18, 2008 2:21 PM
Located off HWY 29 in Rutherford, the Round Pond estate is tucked away off the main path in a beautiful area of the valley. When you turn into the estate you are presented with a long road that is lined with palm trees and vineyard vines on either side of you. The road ends at the Round Pond tasting room. When you walk in the front doors you are greeted with a large window that allows you to see where the wine barrels are being stored. In a temperature controlled room that acts as the caves for Round Pond, all the wine they produce is kept here. You can walk up the stairs or use the elevator to reach the tasting room and terrace on the second floor. From there you are able to see amazing views of the Napa Valley with the mountain ranges on either side as the backdrop. The Round Pond owners Ryan and Miles MacDonnell took a large amount of time going over every detail of the design and layout of the new tasting room. One amazing feature is the circular window at the north end of the room. From there you can see directly down the entry path, lined with those palm trees, that leads to the building.
The wines are available there in the tasting room and can be purchased in the special wooden Round Pond boxes.
The second part of this entry will show you the Round Pond crush pad along with some of the new equipment they are using to produce their wines. Please check out Part 2 which will feature a lot more images and show you a bit of how they do crush just a bit different than other wineries in the Napa Valley.
By WineCountry Staff on September 17, 2008 12:34 PM
This week during Crush in the Napa Valley the Robert Biale Vineyards began their harvest. They had some help with some family and friends pitching in to get all tasks done. The pictures below are all of the Biale crew crushing Zin grapes.
This first image is of Steve opening one of the large stainless steel tanks they are going to use to put the crushed grapes into. While in the tanks, the grapes and their juice will ferment. He is opening the door to put on a rubber seal that will make sure the door stays shut and no liquid gets out.
From the hopper, the grapes travel up the rig and the guys standing on next to the conveyor belt look for bad grapes, raisins, or other debris to take out before the de-stemer removes the grapes from the stems.
Once the grapes are seperated, they are put in the press at the Biale Vineyards where they get a very soft press to help some of the juice leave the grapes without fully breaking the skin.
The grapes come through the de-stemer quickly so they must be racked away into the rest of the bin so that they don't pile up and cause a problem.
Here you can see some of the Zin grape vines on just part of the Biale Vineyard lot. There are more where they came from and that is one reason why they are able to produce some 9 different versions of Zin (And yes you Black Chicken fans - they are making that special blend as we speak).
By WineCountry Staff on September 15, 2008 12:45 PM
Napa Valley has begun its Crush. Crush is the time of year when wineries begin to pick the grapes off the vines and start the process of turning those grapes into the wines we enjoy. This blog will be devoted to covering Crush as it happens in the Napa Valley. The pictures below were taken this morning at Robert Biale Vineyards. They have picked the Zinfandel grapes and are in the process of removing the stems and other debris and then putting them in the proper bins. I'll be posting more from Robert Biale Vineyards and other places in the Napa Valley shortly. Enjoy these photos till the next post.