End of First Official Harvest

As the vines begin to senesce on my first full harvest, I am left with a feeling of great relief and surprising sadness. This was by far the most intense, stressful and rewarding months of my life in recent history. This old body took a beating but kept on tickin’. I had so many competing commitments that it was tough to keep up most of the time- work at Alegria Vineyards, Mauritson Winery, Parmeson Wines, Fall baseball coach, soccer and what about the family… But I must say I came out stronger both physically and mentally, received quite an education and continued respect for the people in this business. This is hard work no doubt about it and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

All of the wine is barreled down and becoming more delicious every day. Will likely bottle the chardonnay and pinot noir mid-2014 and the zin late-2014.

Work will continue in the vineyard – composting, planting cover crops, pruning, trellis and irrigation repair. The pace is significantly slower at this point which will give me time to complete the label, take some classes and catch up on everything that was neglected over the past several months.



The Zin is coming along nicely. This is the block that I have been farming at Alegria Vineyards.



Pinot Noir

The Pinot Noir is also getting close to harvest. The grapes are on Wildcat Mountain on the border of Sonoma Coast and Carneros AVAs. Beautiful view overlooking Sonoma Raceway, San Pablo Bay and San Francisco in the distant. The vines get a constant breeze from the Petaluma Gap which makes the skins thicker and causes the vines to shutdown during the day. These grapes should make a beautiful wine.


Wildcat Pinot Pinot2


The Chardonnay is getting close to harvest (this week!). Two different clones 17 and 76 on 101-14 root stock. Beautiful hillside vineyard that is owned and farmed by Lee Martinelli, Jr. The Martinelli family has been farming apples and grapes in Sonoma County for generations.

chard2 chard


The weather this year has been unusual which is becoming the norm. Had a very hot spell at the beginning of the season. In fact, some of the Petite Syrah and Trousseau got a sunburn (see pics below). Most growers were claiming 2 -4 weeks ahead. Then the cooler weather set in for several weeks and slowed everything down. Had some rain as well but no mold/fungus issues so far. We shall see what Mother Nature has in store for us as we continue through the season.

Here is what sunburn looks like (July 5).Sunburn


Black Widow!!

Was removing some grow tubes and found a couple of Black Widow spiders. Captured them for show and tell to teach the boys what to avoid.



Veraison has begun! The grapes will start accumulating sugar and turn purple or lighter green.



Budbreak update

All of the vines in Block 8 have started bud break… The vines are waking up but as you might expect the growth is not uniform across the vineyard which will bring its own set of challenges as we go along. No complaints. Glad things have finally started. Bring on bloom!