Harvest 2015: A Whirlwind

2015… where to begin? Each year we have our challenges and quirks, despite growing grapes in a region that’s known for relative consistency in climate and growing conditions year to year. We like to celebrate those variations as they occur, likening them to individual stamp or footprints of a time, place, season. This year was a year of wait and see. Though the drought you’ve likely heard about affecting our entire state didn’t affect our ability to grow and nurture the grapes in our estate vineyards, we did see a few periods of high heat over the course of the growing season. Thankfully those moments were followed by cooling spells, and most recently, with a brief but amazing rain shower that gave the grapes a chance to cool down and soften flavor before being harvested. The overall take, from our winemaker Peter, is a year of lower yields and high quality. We’re blessed with fruit that is uniformly high in acid, tannin and sugars, with uniform ripeness and sweet, supple tannins. It’s good to have round, ripe fruit to work with as we craft our blends.

We also are working for the first time with some new first fruit from recent plantings on our home vineyard and on Leopoldina Vineyard. First fruit is often some of the best fruit, so we’re excited to see how those new plantings taste and express themselves.

Also fun: we’re experimenting with some new amphoras – unique and different fermenting vessels for us. We’re currently fermenting Lagrein grapes to put into our Winemakers Blend bottling. We’ll also age a small portion of our wine for our Josephine Sauvignon Blanc program in there to see how it ages compared to our normal barrel aging regimen. It’s always great to experiment and educate ourselves, in that constant pursuit of “betterness.”

Finally, it cannot be stated enough that without our amazing vineyard team, led by Jose, we wouldn’t be able to give you this update. They work tirelessly throughout the year, know every row of our vineyards intimately, and do what it takes to bring in fruit at the most ideal time. This was a short, compact harvest, which isn’t easy on anyone. We are so grateful for our team. Cheers to them, and to 2015!