Vino In My Dino

Postcards from Home: 1984

October 24, 2020 08:44

Postcards from Home: 1984

This series began when I wanted to share what is going on each month at the winery or in the vineyard during the pandemic. I call them postcards or snapshots of life in and around our little corner of Dry Creek Valley. I have mentioned before that I send my grandsons postcards from the road—wherever I may be I am on the lookout for a postcard that captures the place I have traveled to so I can share the experience with them. These do the same thing—bringing a bit of Pedroncelli to you!

These ‘postcards’, 36 years old, come from longtime friends and former wine retailers Bob & Carol Luskin. They have been visiting wine country for many years-earlier to taste and seek wines out for their shop and later to revisit and enjoy some of their favorite places. Earlier this year, pre-COVID, we got together for dinner at Catellis and had a great time talking about their vintage stories! Recently Carol sent me photos from one of their fall trips and it happened to be in the Fall of 1984—how fitting for this post! Ready for some ‘vintage’ photos? You'll note some photos mirror what we see today. Some things remain the same-pandemic or not.

Fall Colors

Showing the mature colors of fall, after the harvest is over, gives wine country its own fall color magic. Much like the vineyards this month there are colors of deep red, yellow, orange and browns tinging the leaves all over the estate blocks. This leaf, glowing red in the fall sunshine, actually is showing signs of a virus which appears once the vines are well on their way to harvest. Without the virus the vineyards would be a bit drab don't you think?
Fall Leaf

Second Crop Zinfandel

Zinfandel pushes what we call a ‘second crop’. It sets the main bunches of fruit on the inside of the head pruned vine and then pushes out another set of fruit later—which in turn ripens at a later time as well. These little bunches of fall goodness are highly prized in certain years when the production is low in the Zin vineyards. We have picked it when needed or home winemakers also make good use of the extra crop. Either way it’s good not to waste the fruit—what would my grandfather and uncle say!
Second Crop Zinfandel

Framed by Canes: Western Dry Creek Valley

Vine with a view. This was taken on our East Side Vineyards, a mile west of the winery, and is looking toward the western hills of Dry Creek Valley. Just starting to go into fall with big fluffy clouds over the valley—I can almost feel the cant of the sun, as it gets farther away and moves to winter—the warmth slowly leaving and giving way to the next season.
East Side Vineyards shot


Bonded Winery 113

The façade of the oldest part of the winery as seen in 1984. The original building was established in the early 1900s and then added on over the years as our family expanded the production of wine. It has changed ‘looks’ over the years. In the 1970s and 1980s it was this striking red-stained siding. The hillside behind the cellar would soon be the home to our newest and last building. We started construction on our Barrel Room and Tasting Room in 1986. The 'new' building is now 33 years old!

Vintage Footnote from Bruce Cass' Wine Lab: 1984

In case you want an overview of what the vintage was like here are the notes from Bruce Cass, wine educator: “Coming from a hot growing season with an early vintage and little or no rain during harvest. '84 was warm throughout, a normal sized crop, and no rain until late October. The vintage produced fleshy, fragrant wines which dazzled consumers and show judges with their opulence and maturity when first released. After five years they began to show the diminishing effects of such an ebullient youth. Cabernets from these years make a fascinating study. Those from Napa Valley are starting to tire. Those from cooler areas like the Santa Rosa plain in Sonoma County and the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County are among the best vintages those locations have produced.”

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