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KJ: 2012 Harvest Predictions

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kgBlog_HarvestPredictions.jpgIs 2012 going to produce a phenomenal vintage? What are winemakers starting predict about this year's harvest? All questions we know our readers are keenly interested in as the harvest season slowly creeps closer!

Matt, the winemaker at Kendall Jackson is predicting that "with the necessary grand gestures of knocking firmly on wooden surfaces, I will admit that things are looking pretty darn good out there, " but concedes . . .

"there's a lot of "ifs" that still need to happen for 2012 to be one for the record books:  If the warm summer weather continues into September, we're probably looking at a great one, if that heat is not too excessive where we get violent heat waves that destroy a lot of crop, like in 2010, if the rains hold off until late in October so that our latest-ripening grapes can achieve that perfect ripeness . . .

CLICK HERE to read full article.

A Look at Pre-Harvest at Benziger Winery

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Mike Benziger takes a look at the vines at Benziger Family Winery in July and says this year's vintage is "off to an awesome start"! Watch the video below:


Verasion Begins at KJ Winery

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kj_Blog_PhotoOfTheDay_Verasion.gif"It may seem like a small thing, just one purple grape in a cluster of green, but it means the most exciting time of the year, Harvest, is starting to creep into view." ~ Kendall Jackson Blog

Summer days seem to be passing by in flash! Some wineries are already starting to see a tinge of purple on their grapes in the vineyards. The winemaker at Kendall Jackson, located in Sonoma County, snapped this beautiful picture of a cluster of Cabernet Sauvignon that is already starting to change color from green to purple.

See other pictures in Kendall Jackson's "Photo of the Day" thread.

Why Are Tannins So Crucial to Red Winemaking

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Winemaker Matt Smith from Kendall Jackson, located in Sonoma Wine Country, answers a question that many wine lovers may have asked themselves at one point or another "Why are tannins so crucial to red winemaking?"

The answer might be bit technical in nature, but the result are red wines we love to drink!

kj_Blog_Tannins.jpgExcerpt from recent KJ Blog Post:
In 2010, Kendall-Jackson participated in a seminar on high-altitude winemaking. The winemaking team here was particularly eager to participate because we wanted to confirm what we've known all along: great red wines are particularly rich with tannins. And, for us, that means high altitude vineyards.

Winemaster Randy Ullom reported some of the findings from this research we conducted on tannins. Our philosophy has always been that the best wine comes from the best land; a core tenant of this philosophy is that mountain grapes produce better wines. A large part of that has to do with how much tannin is found in those particular grapes.

So, just what is a tannin?

Napa Valley Grape Harvest Begins!

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Napa Vintners


Harvest Season is a wonderful time of year to visit Napa Valley! Looking to get an inside look into "crush"? Check out our list of upcoming harvest events around Napa Valley

CLICK HERE for list of activities!

2010 Mendocino Harvest Report

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By Courtney Cochran

With smoke-tainted 2008 vintage wines in circulation now, Mendocino winegrowers no doubt are keen on a strong harvest this season. Still, this hardy group from one of Nor Cal's most northerly wine regions is all too familiar with the vagaries of inclement weather - not to mention so-called acts of god (hello, fires!) - which means they're used to holding their breaths come near-harvest-time.  

I caught up with standout Mendo vintner Paul Dolan of Paul Dolan Vineyards to get his take on what's in store for Mendo wines in 2010.


BIODYNAMIC Dynamos

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collage_over_image_page41_10_1[1].JPGBy Courtney Cochran

A recent San Francisco tasting of some of our nation's top Biodynamic® wines proved revelatory as potential for these much-buzzed-about quaffers goes.  Made from grapes grown in vineyards that are treated with special natural soil additions and farmed according to the lunar calendar (seriously), these wines are beginning to turn heads with their graceful fruit profiles and authentic transmission of terroir.  Read on for some of my favorite producers from the event, along with tasting highlights and recommendations.  

And for more on the practice of Biodynamic® farming - along with historical facts and philosophical considerations, such as the importance of biodiversity on farms - check out this useful site from the Demeter Biodynamic® Trade Association, organizers of the tasting.

Early Blooms Unwelcome in Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

With record temperatures that have sailed north of 70 degrees in some parts of the state, grape growers as far south as San Diego County and as far north as Sonoma are reporting signs of early bud break on vines.  Bud break - which usually doesn't occur until mid March - is apparently being stoked by the unseasonably balmy weather that has also encouraged such cold weather-shy flora as magnolia and almond trees to bloom early.  

Getting Pinched in Oregon

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By Robert Farmer

If you're like me you're by now a little tired of hearing about how bad things are economically in the world. And if you're like me, you probably help ease the sting of the daily bad news by indulging in good glass of wine or two at day's end - every day's end. But when it happens that the bad economic news is also related to wine, it leaves one not knowing where to turn.

Drought, Record Temps Worry Winemakers

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By Courtney Cochran

As if economic woes weren't already enough to worry about, California vintners are now coping with one of the most severe water shortages seen in decades, the result of several years of interminable drought brought on by prevailing La Niña conditions off the West Coast.  With many wineries reporting on-premise reservoirs at historic lows and dwindling well resources, the outlook is grim indeed for Golden State winemakers.
By Courtney Cochran

"It's not like Wall Street," mused Chris Howell, winemaker and general manager of Napa's Cain Vineyard and Winery, in describing the challenges facing California vintners when planning for the future in the face of climate change.

"When you're a farmer you have to be optimistic," he continued, noting that "you're planting a vineyard for [generations that will tend it for] 20, 50 or 100 years...we need to be grounded in reality and need to think about how to adapt."

Benziger Swaying With The Palm

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thepalm.jpgBy Robert Farmer

I'm typically not a "chain" guy, when it comes to restaurants. Indeed in most instances I avoid them by personal writ. But of course some chains are better than others. And some are cut from different cloth entirely. So it was when I entered for the first a couple summers ago The Palm Restaurant in Miami.

I knew the Palm was one of the most feverishly followed steak houses in the U.S., and I was eager to discover what all the fuss was about. Besides, with only 25 Palms in existence, this particular chain was decidedly "short" which made it easier to bend my own rule.

Wine Popping With Climate Change

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climate2.jpgBy Robert Farmer

It's easy to overlook just how pervasive the topic of climate change really is. Not everybody lives in the South Pole, where massive sheets of ice are breaking away at alarming rates and melting into the ocean. Not does the threat of coastal waters rising to overtake entire cities sway the minds of most people on earth.

But the fact is, climate change can and will impact nearly all parts of our current lives. Yes, dear wine lover, that includes wine. And so it was with a great interest that I heard the news recently of a planned Wine Industry Seminar on Climate Change, scheduled for July 31-August 1 at Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma.

My So-Called Grape Life

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By Courtney Cochran


womangrape.jpg

Forward-thinking Napa vintners Susan and Duane Hoff have searched for ways to bring the experience of making wine at their bucolic Spring Mountain property closer to consumers since they founded Fantesca Winery (fantesca.com) in 2004. An industrious pair, the Hoffs ran through the typical canon of winery marketing shtick: they built a web site, hosted lavish harvest events for club members, and even created a MySpace page.

California Wine an Earthy Choice

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By Robert Farmer

3Es_circles.jpgIt seems that the state of California sometimes is fighting its own personal battle against global warming. The Golden State enacts initiatives that are separate and apart from the national programs - or even the national objectives. As the 8th largest economy on the planet, I suppose it's important that the state makes an environmental policy that sets the bar for the planet. The same can be said of California's wine industry, which has provided the standard for environmentally friendly wine-producing practices for years.

Earth to Ukiah

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By Robert Farmer

vineyard.jpg

It's fairly obvious that, although Earth Day is officially April 22, what is less known is that April is actually Earth Month. But what everyone ought to know is that every day is actually Earth Day. We have one planet. We have one chance to make it work. So it is that I continually bring up the subject as it relates to Wine Country. Because when it comes to the wine industry, the connection to the earth is top on the list of Things That Are Important.

In The Wine World, It's Always Earth Day

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By Robert P. Farmer

earth.jpgWhen you're making wine, the term "earth day" has a different meaning than the one conjured up by what you see in the media at this time of year.  Because when the earth is your office, every day is earth day. So each April, when the focus turns globally to the single day we've set aside to call attention to the fragility and splendor of the Big Blue Marble (don't we really need more than one day for that?), it's worth pointing out the ways in which Wine Country--by that I mean wine-producing regions across the globe--have quietly led the charge to be earth-friendly.

The Time is Ripe

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There's No Time Like Crush in Wine Country

by Robert P. Farmer

For my money, there's no better time to be in wine country than during harvest. The crush. That's what the locals call it. It's the time of year that the grape growers turn their crop into cash. It's an important time for them. And for the average visitor, it should be just as important - and no less busy, if you want it to be. The trick is to know what to do with your harvest time visit. You can spend day after day traversing the countryside, watching the colors change, and taking in chest-filling breaths of the crisp fall air and not really have any idea of what is really going on at harvest time. Wineries love this time of year and you should too.

Diary of a Crush: Part 3

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courtneyCochran_profile.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Day 3 - Saturday, Sept 22

We rose at five the next morning to pick Kenny's Zin. As I emerged from the guest room I was greeted with a large mug of coffee and pressing questions about how much beer I thought we would need when we finished picking. Unable to think with perfect clarity at that hour, we all agreed to err on the side of "more is better." Amply plied with caffeine and with our beer in tow, we departed a few minutes before 6, giddy with excitement about what was to come.

Diary of a Crush: Part 2

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courtneyCochran_profile.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Day 2 - Friday, Sept 21

Friday dawned crisp and cold in the Russian River, where I was staying with Kenny and his family. Although Kenny had left for the winery before 6 to supervise early morning harvest-related activities, I'd been given the go-ahead to sleep in and catch up on a few emails before heading out to meet him. I wondered briefly if the folks back home would call me a fair-weather-crusher for sleeping in, then got over it: I wasn't on payroll here, after all.

Besides, the dreary weather wasn't exactly welcoming at the crack of dawn. It registered to me at that moment that you have to seriously love what you're doing to work until 10, then rise again at five to head out and do more of the same - in icky weather, at that.

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