Today, I spent the day checking on our fruit in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. I snapped this picture of our 2012 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as it sits on the vine at about 20-21 brix. We will be ready to pick this in about 3-4 weeks depending on the heat. The soils here are a dusty red hue from the high iron content that is spread throughout the Alexander Valley. Our vineyard have rows that are set up on East to West row direction. This way the morning sun hits the north side of the fruit and the afternoon sun hits the south side. You can see the sunlight on the southside while the north side fruit hangs in the shade of the vine. This allows the clusters on each side of the vine to bring something different to the resulting blend. The morning side tends to hold the acidity better while the afternoon side brings more black fruit character and higher sugar content. When picked at the right time, you get the best of both worlds – rich fruit and good acids. We will pick this fruit early to mid October given its warm location on the valley floor. Harvest is just starting to get interesting. More to come later. Greg
This past week, we started processing our 2012′s when our Pierson Lambert Pinot Noir hit the crushpad on Tuesday. So far, we are seeing very even ripening in the vineyards. The color and crop set is looking very good. The even temperature this summer has allowed the grapes to get some gentle heat and will continue to give these grapes some ample hang time. Looks like good quality across the board so far. More to come later.
It has been a while. Well, the 2011 harvest was a really interesting one. There was not much heat this year so our ripening was all over the place. Now that the dust has settled, I am very proud of our efforts. Working with our growers and requiring a lot of patience, we let the fruit hang. We even let it hang through two different bouts of rain in the case of some of our reds. This all poses a risk (rot, mold, etc.) but the payoff is making better wine. I believe that we came out sucessful in one of the toughest harvests to date. You all have a lot of 2010 vintage wine to consume before you will see any of this 2011. So enjoy the fruits of our effort and we will get the next vintage ready to impress your palate soon.
Happy Holidays from your winemaking team at Don and Sons.
This past weekend, I took a trip down to Paso Robles, CA to check out our fruit down there. Paso has had a long cool growing season but the temperatures have been steady. The fruit is still ripening evenly and the canopy (leaf coverage of the vine that shades the grapes) is still green and going strong. In a couple of weeks, our Cabernet Sauvignon will be ready to pick. The pictures below are from the Meeker Vineyard. This vineyard sits on rolling hills on the north eastern side of Paso Robles. We get Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo from this site. The fruit and views are looking beautiful.
It was a great sight from one of our Napa Valley Vineyards this morning. I was just north of Yountville as the sun was rising and the sky was dotted with balloons. Not a bad way to start the day.
We feel very fortunate to work with great growers. Great growers grow fantastic fruit responsibly. They don’t overuse pesticides or use practices that could be harmful to the surrounding environment. They understand that there is a flow of life that needs to be balanced with insects, animals, and in this case amphibians. I got to thinking about this yesterday in one of our blocks of Sangiacomo Pinot Noir just south of Petaluma, CA. I was tasting the fruit in this block when this little guy caught my eye. This tree frog would not have been here in the vineyard if the vineyard was over sprayed for pesticides. So here’s to great growers who grow awesome grapes with a conscience.
A couple of days ago, I stopped by the Sangiacomo Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap on the Sonoma Coast to visit our two blocks of Pinot Noir. It has been such a cool year, I wanted to get a feel for how the fruit was maturing. To my surprise, the fruit was much further along, had great rich fruit character, and wonderful bright acidity. Another 10 days hang time will really bring it around. Our new Sonoma Coast programs will only get better as we tap into vineyards like this one. Power and finesse.
The 2011 harvest has just started for Don and Sons with the crushing of our 2011 Wilson Vineyard Pinot Noir early this morning. We will send updates as we continue the insanity. Wish us luck.
Last week, we dragged our two winemakers, Greg and Michelle, along with Donny Sebastiani, out to Clarksburg to shoot several videos in the vineyards. We’re currently working on a new mobile site for The Crusher, which you’ll be able to get to by scanning a QR code on the new back label. We couldn’t be more excited to share our amazing, photogenic winemakers with the world, as well as talk a little bit about our new experiments with natural yeast fermentation.
Enjoy the “behind the scenes” photos below!
Like many industries, the wine business features one of the great bastions of international commerce – the Trade Show! Every winter, Sacramento hosts a huge “back of shop” show to showcase the latest and greatest technologies for wine production. And many times throughout the year, there are “front of shop” trade shows domestically and internationally to help facilitate wine sales.
Last week, the world of wine set their bleary, jet-lagged eyes (or maybe that was just me) on London, for the annual London Wine Fair. As a winery, you (we) have the opportunity to meet buyers and importers from distant corners of the globe.
And it is a good excuse to get your passport stamped and dine on bangers & mash and eat cheese for breakfast. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t allow too much time to visit the sites around Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, and Buckingham Palace – we actually had to work. But if work is tasting THOUSANDS of wines from around the world in a matter of hours, I won’t get many sympathy cards.