2008: September 2008 Archives


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harvest.jpgCALIFORNIA - It's harvest time around wine country regions all over the country! If you haven't had a chance to experience Crush Season first hand, take a look at one staff member's journey at several wineries in Napa Valley over the past couple of days. Check back often fro updates!

However, many wine drinkers are concerned about whether it will even be a good harvest this year. Weather seemed to bounce all over the place between extreme high temperatures and then very cool days resulting in mixed reviews from wine growers, vintners, and reviewers alike. Read buzz from all over California Wine Country:

Round Pond in the Napa Valley, CA - Part 2

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In the previous Part 1, we showed the consumer facing side of the Round Pond estate which is breath taking. Now we'd like to show you some of the backend things that go on during crush to produce their wines. The equipment used by Round Pond is amazingly clean and shined in the sun light the day we were there. See some of that equipment below.


The crush pad is very clean and the operation is very orderly. In some of the following images you can see that the grapes are sitting at the south end of the pad, they get processed on the pad, then move north into the tanks which are just inside the doors leading to the pad.

The tanks used by Round Pond to ferment their wines are large and stainless steel. You can see them and how they are arranged in the images below.

The following images show where the wine is stored. Whites are in the stainless steel barrels and the reds are in the wooden barrels. The room is temperature controlled and in the anti room where the whites are stored there is a special CO2 system that monitors the amount of the gas in the room, which is given off by the wine as it matures, and will alert those in the room when the level is too high and automatically kick on a fan to move the gas out of the room.

The Round Pond estate is large and beautiful and was a great place to visit during crush. You can reach their website by clicking here.

Round Pond in the Napa Valley, CA - Part 1

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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.

See Part 2 by clicking here.

Robert Biale Vineyards

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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).


Crush 2008 Begins in Napa Valley, CA

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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.