Stefania is working away in the office on offer letters for our Fall Release. Letter will start to go out on the 15th. We’re expecting that the wine we have available will sell out very quickly. It could be as fast as two weeks. I’ve just updated the Wine section of the site with details on the three wines being released.
Saturday I had a full day of work to do in the winery. All of the barrels needed topping and that takes a couple of hours. I also was going to bottle the 2010 Chardonnay from the Chaine d’Or Estate.
This was going to be a hand operation since I estimated (correctly) there were only about 10 cases.
Here’s the sad story of the 2010 Chardonnay. Last year the growing season was cold and foggy at Chaine d’Or well into July. We were worried that the grapes would never get ripe. So in mid-July we took the very expensive step of removing all the leafs from the fruit zone to try and get more sun to the clusters. There were many vineyards doing the same thing.
In early August things seemed ok and it looked like we might be able to pick in October. We also noticed though that Mildew was starting in the vineyard. The late verasion had increased the risk of mildew so we were prepared. We went out and did two treatments, the first with an organic product called Oxidate, and then a week later with Stylet oil.
We zapped the mildew, no problem. We also left a nice shinny sheen on the grapes for the hottest unexpected August heat wave in memory. Without leafs the clusters had no protection and baked in the heat.
We knew there would be only a few hundred pounds in the vineyard. When we eventually did pick we used just the ‘A’ team and it took about four times as long to pick. They only picked good clusters. Stefania and I set up a table and as the 30 pound bins came in from the field we hand sorted each cluster and then cut out the bad grapes with scissors. Grape by grape.
When it was all done we had about 25 gallons of wine. It was really good, and I put it in a small barrel to age before transferring to a tank for bottling. We knew though we could never sell this wine. The cost we estimated was about $165 a bottle for us to produce it.
Stefania decided she wanted it though and we would bottle it for our own use. She really wants it for her Crab Feed party so that’s what the plan is.
This is the tank lifted up to help the wine flow for hand bottling.
The first picture is the hand corker I used. I filled each bottle one at a time and corked them with some left over 2008 corks. No labels for this wine, it would have been too expensive to print a small run.
The last of the 2008 Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Magnums were spoken for this weekend. The magnums usually go very fast and this time was no exception. Futures ordering will continue until July 15th. We’ll send out one reminder after this coming weekend. The allocation amounts are set up so that we will not run out of anything else but magnums are so limited that we can’t allocate them to everyone and they have to me first come first serve.
Our 2011 Summer Futures email just went out. There are two new wines in this release. First up will be a new Syrah from the Split Rail vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is a site we started working with in 2009 and it will replace the Eaglepoint Ranch bottling for us starting with this release.
We are also doing a special release of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Harvest Moon vineyard. We’ve used the Harvest Moon vineyard since 2006 as part of our Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2008 we selected three special barrels that we bottled as a ‘Special Reserve’. Usually we think that the Harvest Moon wine benefits from the addition of other vineyards. For instance the Chaine d’Or vineyard brings structure and acidity. The Elandrich vineyard brought texture and red fruit. In 2008 though the vineyard was complete on its own. We don’t think this will be the only ‘Special Reserve’ we ever do, but it will be pretty rare. There were none in 2005,2006,2007,2009 or 2010.
We are also releasing the 2009 Haut Tubee. The general release will be this September and we will have complete details on the wines leading up to that.
Sunday morning the whole crew was out at Mineral Hill to complete the installation there. Jerry and Millie had finished the wiring on Saturday morning after Millie spent all day Friday prepping the wire and connectors.
My job was to dig holes. Stefania was officially the ‘supervisor’. She made sure all the wire work was polished off, trained the homeowners on how to plant (they did 90% of the planting) and see to all the details including pounding in 90+ rebar supports. Millie finished up support nails for the catch wires and rigged up the drip line so it was off the ground. Jerry cut rebar for Stef and helped with planting.
I also planted a few of the plants including the three table grapes at the end of the vineyard. The table grapes need some expert care and pruning so that’s how I ended up with that job. Below is me finishing off hole #91. I did about 60-70 of the holes. Stef is in the background making sure the catch wires are attached correctly.
It was a really great morning. Blue skies and temperatures in the high 60’s and low 70’s. Great conditions to work in. Below are a couple of shots of the almost finished vineyard before we started digging holes to put in the plants.
The site is now complete. We installed 5 additional plants as a nursery in case any of the main plants don’t grow. We also set up a watering schedule for the first few weeks. For the rest of the summer we’ll have a few check ups to do to see on progress.
Last night we opened two wine from the 2006 vintage.
2006 Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch. – This is in a really good drinking window right now. The tannins are soft and lots of secondary flavors coming through with the plum and berry fruit. Originally I put a shorter drinking window on this and I think now to 2013 is prime for this wine.
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Uvas Creek Vineyard – The was also really good last night, with round tannins, lots of berry and cherry fruit and a long finish. Worth trying at 5 years old and rounding out really well. There’s a nice spice on he finish.
I’m going to open a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Uvas Creek soon. The 05 and 06 both went through rough patches from age 3 1/2 to 4 when they seemed disjointed without a long decant. The 07 has been the same for a few months now and I want to check if it’s coming out of that.
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