Thursday, May 29, 2014
The Federalist, 2010, Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was everything I like in a well made wine of this particular grape variety; pepper, red currant, plum and raspberry, yum! Produced by The Terlato Wine Group (a company with an extensive wine portfolio which includes vineyard ownership and management, wine importing/exporting and many international winery collaborations), The Federalist hails from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. The Dry Creek AVA has come to be recognised as perhaps the premier viticultural area in the state for producing Zinfandel. Zinfandel is considered the unofficial state grape of California.
And besides, I love the label. Alexander Hamilton was an interesting man; born out of wedlock, he was a patriot, legal scholar, fiscal conservative and a defender of the Constitution of the United States. All was going well for Hamilton until his career and reputation were derailed by his complicity in an 18th century sex scandal. And then, to top it all off, he was mortally wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr, a political rival. Wow, what a life! Spicy stuff, just like this wine.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Vinomaker has humoured me and has mowed around the sunflowers for a few weeks now. Thanks Vinomaker, they look so cheery.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Sir Walter Scott.
Vinomaker greeted me as I arrived home from work today with the news that V1 had died in her sleep. What a wonderful way to pass on, I just wish I'd been with her. She was a great dog.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
A little bit of rain here and there (which includes an unexpected, unforecasted heavy shower today), and lashings of sunshine, has resulted in quite a variety of wildflowers blooming in Vinoland this spring. Besides the white onion, there are plenty of wild hyacinth and blue-eyed grass in flower right now in an area of Vinoland that I won't let Vinomaker mow, for the time being, and it's driving him crazy. Oh well. Bloom on little onion.
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Some buds on grapevines can remain dormant indefinitely, but when conditions are just right these latent buds may become active and push out from the older, woody tissue where they have been snoozing. The mini inflorescence in the photograph was apparently very impatient to do something this spring, as it budded out from this vines trunk, just above the graft union, without any leaves for companionship. Hope it doesn't get too comfortable because it's coming off tomorrow. Sorry buddy!
Saturday, May 03, 2014
Pine Ridge grow Chardonnay and Merlot at this location and both varietal wines were available for tasting, so we did (Vinomaker even went back for seconds). It's a nice vineyard. Viticultural experts who work for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, a co-sponsor of the event, were on hand to answer any questions visitors may have had. The bottom, level half of the vineyard had originally been planted to Merlot and had been grafted over to Chardonnay clones 76, 95 and 96 within the last 2 years (I would guess).
The old Merlot trunks were quite old and gnarly. There were lots of questions from the attendees about these not-so-normal looking grapevines; How does one go about attaching the bud? And how does one end up with the two arms of a bi-lateral cordon? It was fun to stand in the sun, with my 2 ounces of Merlot, and just listen to the conversations. Vinomaker and I didn't stay for too long, after all, I had things to do in my own vineyard. It's always a fun event.
Friday, May 02, 2014
Situated a little above the level of the road, I must have driven past the sign at least half a dozen times, but hadn't noticed it (whizzing past with groceries desperately in need of refrigeration) - until I was told to look for it by a friend. In my defense I am usually looking at the vineyard on the south side of the road, but now that I know where the sign is my attention is drawn to it each time I pass by. I like it.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
After a quick shufty through all of my viticulture books with no satisfactory findings, I turned to the internet - not much joy there either I'm afraid. The conventional wisdom online is that the main reason for a secondary shoot pushing is the death or removal of the primary shoot. Call me old fashioned, but I think the primary shoot in the photograph looks very much alive. The second reason is perhaps that the vine has suffered a severe pruning. Nope, I prune the same every year - 2 eight-bud canes and 2 two-bud spurs (5' by 7' spacing) which, in my opinion, is not that severe. The third reason given is boron deficiency. Ha! Coombsville is known for boron toxicity: a neighbour of mine even trucks in water for their vineyard because their boron-rich well water would kill their vines.
Not being happy with any of my findings, my last resort was to email Dr. Stephen Krebs, my VWT professor at NVC (who, I just found, out is retiring this summer and I am just devastated by the news). If there is one, ultimate viticultural-brain to pick then Dr. Krebs is in possession of it. And he said;
"As for the multiple-bud push, the only explanation that makes sense, of the ones you listed, is severe pruning (which translates to “over exuberance”). If you combine that with a lot of soil moisture and warm, sunny conditions at bud break, I think you get many doubles and even triples."
And there you have it, at least I am satisfied with that explanation. The climatic conditions at budbreak were such that all of Vinoland's vines were invested with a natural exuberance - which translates as a lot of suckering and thinning in Vinogirl's near future. I love vines.