• Budbreak & Bottling Go On

    March 25, 2020 11:46

    Budbreak & Bottling Go On

    We are all living in unusual times. The Shelter in Place order is active and most of the staff in the office is working from home-all except Jim who checks in every day. It is fitting since this is his childhood home. Our vineyards and winery come under the Food and Agriculture Sector critical infrastructure plan. Agriculture is considered essential, so the vineyard and cellar crews are kept busy at this time by finishing up pruning in the vineyards and bottling up the red wines scheduled for production.

    Winter turned officially to spring on March 19 and the vineyards are beginning to shake off dormancy and head into budbreak-the moment when the buds on the vine begin to soften. So, what does this mean? Let’s start with the importance of pruning and what it means to budbreak: when the vines are pruned in late fall and winter each cane produced is trimmed back to typically two buds-which are the production for the next vintage. There are several canes stemming (pardon the pun) from the vine. Those two buds begin to soften and develop as warmer weather comes along and here in Dry Creek Valley that usually happens by mid-March.

    Looking back at the beginning of vintage 2020, which begins with the rainy season, we had several inches of rain between November and January. February brought spring-like weather and not a drop of rain. As we see this month ending there is more rain on the way but likely totaling just about 2 inches. Mitch Blakeley, Vineyard Assistant (among other things-he’s family) told me we could use another 5-7 inches of rain so the vineyards, having had a dry spell, would get the necessary push to begin the growth cycle and invigorate the vines. It remains to be seen what we will receive in April or even May.

    Budbreak has begun in the younger vineyards-go figure, a growth spurt from the teenagers. Mitch also reported, “The venerable Mother Clone blocks, which are in their late 30s, are taking their time to begin the season. For instance, in the younger vines they are seeing 1-3 inches of growth-first leaf, shoots but very minimal changes in the established vines. Larger and deeper root zones for these allow them to access water and nutrients in a larger area which means the vines don’t have to push until later when groundwater depletes.” bottling

    In the cellar the 2018 red wines like our Mother Clone Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and are among the first of that vintage to be bottled up. Winemaker Montse Reece is very happy with the quality of the wines and recalls the vintage in her fact sheet notes: The winter brought plenty of rain to the vineyards. Perfect growing conditions followed during summer with even heat and a great environment providing extended ripening. Once harvested, the vintage brought medium tannins as well as higher levels of aromatics and flavors. We all look forward to sharing them upon release later this year.

  • A Note From Home: How Are You Doing?

    March 21, 2020 09:25

    A Note from Home

    JasperSo how are you doing? I hope this finds you coping with the new restrictions in our lives-! I know many, many things have been cancelled or rescheduled for another time. Are you catching up on personal correspondence? Tackling those household projects you’ve put off like painting the bathrooms or adding a she shed? Homeschooling your kids? I personally will be reading more, walking more with #JasperWineDog-who by the way loves us working from home-he thinks we are on vacation and totally ignores the virus thing. I’ll do more home cooking while also supporting our local restaurants for take-out and of course enjoy a glass of wine or two while kicking back in the evenings.

    How are you? This simple phrase seems so much more important now as we are physically distanced from each other and our daily lives. I typically write this note from my office, my former bedroom in my childhood home, which overlooks our Mother Clone zinfandel vineyard. Today I am writing from my own home in Healdsburg with a view of spring burgeoning in the new leaves on the oak trees and birds singing just outside.

    For me yesterday was a wonderful day because two things happened: I have a new grandson and my niece Sarah (Lisa & Lance’s daughter) was married-in Brazil of all places-they watched the ceremony at 6am that morning from their home. Galen Kurt Edwin Rule was born a few hours later. 3/20/20 will be remembered with joy amidst such a time and I look forward to hugging him once this is over-I am thankful for our ease of communication so I can see all the fingers and toes and make sure mom Adrienne is okay and dad Jason is holding the baby correctly.Baby Galen

    Home AloneWhile we hunker down with loved ones I know there are many challenges ahead. Those parents with kids home for the long term-I received an email yesterday from a mom who had our wine at their wedding and now, 9 years later, has kids home and needed a case of wine to smooth the rough edges! (pretty sure my own parents would have gone crazy with the four of us girls bouncing off the walls). Work and the interruption of regular life is a challenge and a change. If you are at home alone reach out to neighbors who might also feel alone-keeping your distance of course! You know Wilson had it right by visiting over the back fence. If we keep socially connected in our age of technology we’ll know we are not alone.Wilson over the Fence

    How are we doing at the winery? The Governor of California has put the whole state from tip to top in a Stay at Home order. Our trade group Wine Institute just confirmed that, while our tasting room remains closed, the new order allows winery and vineyard operations to continue under the Food and Agriculture Sector critical infrastructure plan. We can keep things going in the vineyard and cellar! Probably more important to you is that we are still processing and shipping orders. While we can’t offer tastings, we are working on how to do “take-out” at the winery. Stay tuned for developments. Meanwhile we wouldn’t want our friends and neighbors to run out of wine. If you’d like us to ship you some wine click here.

    Until the next time, keep healthy, stay inside and reach out even if just an email or call! or 707-857-3531.

    Stay well and don’t forget the vino. Julie