Friday, August 9, 2013

The fruit is looking soooo good at the Doña Margarita Vineyard!

Yesterday we went to our Sonoma Coast vineyard and ran up and down just about every row (not in vain our barrel selection of this vineyard is named "Chico's Run"!) so we could see how wonderful the berries look. In fact, we have to thin out a lot of clusters. It is hard for the crew to do that because they know that then at picking time, it will take them longer to gather the same tonnage; but we explained to them that quality is what we are after, much more than quantity -- and rather reluctantly but understanding, they went back to the 1st row to start again and take off much more fruit.

Zach weighed a big cluster with his sophisticated gadget -- a scale that you hang the cluster from!
Then he showed the crew how much fruit to thin out -- look at all the clusters on the ground, how sad :-( 

Véraison is now in full swing at the Doña Margarita Vineyard and the vines look just magnificent. Using his high-end scale, Zach weighed a big cluster at 150 grams or 5.3 ounces -- that's about 5 times the weight of a couple of years ago! We are delighted to see that the vines are in much better balance now and should give us some extraordinary wines.  It's very exciting -- but hard to have the patience needed to wait for the results!

Bonita was VERY tempted to eat the seemingly juicy berries, from their great looks . . .
. . . but after falling into the temptation, pretty soon she realized that was not such a good idea!

With the grapes looking so gorgeous, we were very tempted to eat them -- but soon enough we realized they are far from ripe. You should have seen Boni's face after she swallowed some!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Véraison in in full swing at the Don Miguel Vineyard!

Véraison usually starts a bit earlier in our Russian River/Green Valley vineyard, Don Miguel, than in the Sonoma Coast's Doña Margarita. That's because although this one is just five miles closer to the ocean than the former, that distance accounts for a 5-10º F difference in temperature! So we were delighted to see that at the Don Miguel Vineyard around the winery, véraison is at about 85% in the Pinot and 60-70% in the Chardonnay -- and also that the fruit looks fantastic. We have high hopes for a superb harvest this year!!

      These clusters have already turned soft and         translucent, a sign of véraison in the Chardonnay 
In the Pinot Noir, véraison is  practically completed. And the fruit look gorgeous!
This would actually be quite extraordinary -- 2 years in a row of an excellent harvest! It would be nice, indeed, and make up for the very difficult 2011, when the yields were so poor that we are barely breaking even now that we are starting to sell the wines. We hear Mom complain about it a lot!! 

The yields are so good that we will have to drop some fruit, as you can see here, to achieve perfect balance and ripeness 
The Tempranillo is far behind. Some clusters are starting to gain color, bu they're not nearly ripe enough to tempt Bonita to taste them!

Besides the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the other varieties are far behind. The Albariño berries are still hard as rocks, and so are the Syrah. The Tempranillo is ahead of these; in fact, its name means "the little early one" in Spanish because it ripens earlier than the other Spanish varieties.

Worth mentioning is the fact that, in a year when the powdery mildew (oidium) pressure has been extremely high, both vineyards are absolutely healthy and without signs of either that hideous fungus or botrytis. The vineyard crew has been doing a fabulous job!!
The rootstock in our new planting of Albariño looks very healthy, as Bonita is showing you here