Archive for the ‘Journal’ Category

Another Big Crop Year?

We are having a run of lovely, mild, quiet weather just now: day/night temperatures in the mid- to high-70s/mid-40s, morning coastal low clouds and fog burning off by midday, light breezes. This weather is predicted to last through the weekend, with just the hint of possibility of a rainy front pushing through at the 10-day […]

Rites of Spring

Here we are, a few days into spring, and the vineyard is still looking pretty bare, while the vines in Carneros already have a couple inches of growth on them. The crew finished pruning and tying at our Estate vineyard about a week ago. The young, cane-pruned Pinot next to the highway has started to […]

Looking For Our Customer

Quiet day in Sonoma. As I start composing this post I’m looking out at a passing storm that has brought us nearly four times the rain we have had since November. We’re still in a drought, but my friends who rely on surface water to raise their vines are getting at least a partial break. […]

Drought Weather & Farmer Concerns

The weather is broken. The Rossby effect, which should be bringing winter storms down the coast, seems to be stalled. We have had a persistent ridge of high pressure over the North Coast since November, which broke down once early in December. Since then we have had an unremitting string of dry days, cool nights […]

Midnight Rambler

Late-night knock on my door, and it’s my buddy Marcel. I don’t see him often, but when I do it’s either a brief stop at the winery at some random time, or a midnight visit with a bottle of wine. Last night he showed up with an indifferent Bouzy, and this label idea for the […]

…And Then There Were None

Compare this picture to my last post. Thirty-two bins of Pinot are pressed off, and I have not brought anything in since the 14th. If you don’t work in a winery you can hardly appreciate how much of a luxury this is, to be able to clear the decks between bringing in waves of fruit. […]

Catching Our Breath …

The title is meant to be slightly ironic. Walking into the winery right now it is actually difficult to catch one’s breath, as the CO2 being thrown off by all the fermenters in the picture above is nearly asphyxiating. But we are getting a little break in harvest, and metaphorically catching our breath from the […]

I “Must” Do WHAT?

This past Thursday, W. Blake Gray put up an interview with Clark Smith he titled “Winemakers Must Come Clean”. Maybe it’s because I’m running on little sleep and a lot of stress, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. There’s are many things I HAVE to do over the next couple of months (and […]

Harvest Is On For Some, Not For Us

Folks are starting to pick for still wine already. I’ve seen some trucks on the road, and posts to social media showing some Napa Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc coming off the vines. Yesterday folks posted some Pinot noir picks, but I’m sure at least half of it was for sparkling wine. On the other hand, […]

Acid Trip Mea Culpa

The 2013 harvest is coming up in in a few weeks. Every year I start planning the next vintage as soon as the previous one is done, but as the harvest draws near the thought process gets particularly fraught. About now I make a dispassionate, unstinting assessment of what worked and what didn’t, and what […]