Harvest 2016 is coming to a close for Pinot Noir at Thomas Fogarty Winery in Santa Cruz Mountains. The last pick at Rapley Trail Vineyard was harvested at 4AM on the morning of September 7th, followed by Windy Hill Vineyard the next morning.
The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association commissioned Six Finger Films to create a video highlighting the world class vineyards and wines that originate from the appellation. The video was filmed during the 2015 harvest and profiles several storied wineries, including Thomas Fogarty Winery, Ridge and Mount Eden. It's a beautiful video that helps illustrate the extraordinary terroir of the appellation.
Congratulations to Meteor Vineyard for fabulous scores on the 2013 wines from Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate! Parker calls the 2013 vintage in Napa and Sonoma "a classic of power, intensity and equilibrium." He thinks that the wines produced the vintage were the finest wines he has tasted in 37 years.
One of the most interesting assignments for us is joining our winery clients during blending sessions. For many wineries these decisions are made collaboratively. We methodically taste and retaste numerous lots of wine from different blocks and clones throughout the vineyard with the entire team.
If you know Patrick well, you know that perhaps his favorite drink of all time is the Negroni. With Thanksgiving approaching, we thought it would be fun to create some new cocktails using Amaro Bilaro, our newest project, which will be released in 2016.
I love photographing labels. Mostly wine labels, though a catchy spirits label inspires me from time to time. We see so many wine labels on social media today, on Instagram and Delectable, and of course Facebook and Twitter, too.
Under a setting full super moon, the team from Radio-Coteau began harvesting Robert's Block Zinfandel at dawn today. Last night's full moon/lunar eclipse/supermoon provided loads of light early this morning, and the moon didn't set until nearly 7:30AM.
My good friend Jim Kuhner, who works for Dunstan Wines, asked me if I could come and photograph their harvest party last weekend. I was game for the task -- Durell Vineyard is a beautiful site and they always throw fabulous parties at the ranch house.
Northern California is experiencing another heat wave. The temperatures started to climb on Monday, which precipitated a rush to bring in grapes in both Napa and Sonoma Counties. Although no winemaker likes to pick during a heat wave, sometimes you are contained by the conditions of your circumstances.
This year, Darms Lane is working with a new Pinot Noir vineyard source, Goff-Whitton Vineyard. Last night, Dutton Ranch (the owners of the vineyard) harvested the 1.4 acre block for Darms Lane. Goff-Whitton is a 26 acre, sustainably farmed vineyard located just west of Gravenstein Highway, near the town of Graton. Last night I joined an amazing crew of fast picking men that quickly worked its way through 15 rows; the pick started at 2AM and wrapped up less than two hours later.
Tilton Hill Vineyard, owned by Benovia Winery, is perched high on a ridge at around 600 feet just a few miles away from the Pacific Ocean, above the town of Freestone, west of the town of Sebastopol. Benovia planted the vineyard (11.7 acres) to Pinot Noir in 2009; the first single-vineyard wine from the site was in 2012. Last night, two crews comprised of female pickers came through to pick Blocks 3 and 4 of the vineyard beginning at 1AM.
Susan and I took a 'class trip' to visit the American Craft Whiskey Distillery in Redwood Valley today, as we continue to explore and learn more for our Amaro Bilaro project. ACWD is part of the Craft Distillers group, and shares a facility with benchmark California brandy producer, Germain-Robin. We were met by Crispin Cain, head distiller/owner of ACWD. Crispin has a long history in distilling, starting in 1989 as assistant to Hubert Germain-Robin, after spending a number of years working in wine production. He now focuses his skills on vodka, gin, whiskey, and a couple of great specialty products, absinthe and rose liqueur (more on the rose liqueur later).
This morning I had the pleasure of joining the Radio-Coteau estate vineyard and Advanced Viticulture crews for the first pick of Alberigi Vineyard. The crews started picking the 2.5 acre vineyard shortly before 5AM. Alberigi is on Vine Hill Road, right in the heart of the Russian River Valley in Sebastopol, along the Laguna Ridge. The vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir, three clones (777, 115 and 114), and Radio-Coteau buys all the fruit from the vineyard. We started with the back block (clone 777), and by sunrise had moved to the front block.
Yesterday we spent the day out at Meteor Vineyard in the Coombsville AVA of Napa Valley, walking the blocks with winemaker Dawnine Dyer and a group of sommeliers from Northern and Southern California. The 22-acre vineyard is divided into blocks containing three different clones; clone 337, and two heritage clones, clone 4 and clone 7. We walked from the bottom of the vineyard, where clone 7 is planted, to the top of the vineyard and other clonal blocks. At the top of the vineyard (about 500 feet elevation), on a clear day like yesterday, you can see San Pablo Bay in the distance.
Yesterday we met with a group from Polaner Selections, our New York/New Jersey distributor for Radio-Coteau. After a tour of the Demeter-certified winery on Barlow Lane in Sebastopol, we traveled to the Radio-Coteau estate ranch on a ridge 800 feet in elevation above the town of Occidental to explore the biodiversity of the property.
We left the cool, foggy weather of the west Sebastopol Hills on Monday and paid a visit to Darms Lane Vineyard. It was a picture-perfect, warm and sunny afternoon, and we walked the vineyard with Tricia Bump Davis to get caught up on all the latest developments and upcoming plans for the winery.
A warm week in Sonoma County resulted in ample vine growth while we were away working the markets in Florida and Wisconsin. Yesterday we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over Benovia's Tilton Hill Vineyard.