The 2016 HarvestThe 2016 harvest and new wines!

Our 2016 harvest must be talked about as the most unique growing year ever. The monsoon mid June through July rains caused us to stop with any weed control and double down on foliar fertilizing. Know anyone who grew tomatoes only to see those tomatoes not ripen? As it turns out, when plant are “fat, dumb and happy” with plenty of water, they simply do not ripen fruit. It’s as if they think they’ll live forever, so they grow their green parts like crazy because there’s enough water to support the extra growth and they lose their focus on ripening fruit. So by growing weeds, we pull more water out of the soils, thereby stressing the vines. Which makes them think they need to focus on the fruit…focus on the seeds, and thus make the fruit tasty, so another generation of plants will continue the specie.

At the mid-August point, things started to dry out and one of our best quality vintages started to take shape.

Vignoles: Picked first with the best looking grape clusters ever. The result: a highly aromatic and flavorful wine with tremendous character. We have blended vignoles with a little bit of traminette and have an early release vignoles on the list at this point. Due to the first time we had zero “Noble Rot”, our vignoles is quite unique from year’s past. In analyzing the wines in late December, we have bottled some Vignoles 2016 in which we mixed in just a dash of traminette. It’s one of the most balanced and lighter Vignoles we have had. In the barrels, the wine is really developing into a complex white that has all the essences of a classic white. Overall, the fruit was simply a joy to work with, and came out of the vineyard with very balanced sugars, acids and flavors.

Traminette: Gosh, the words are balance and smoothness through and through. We are barrel aging most of our traminette right now as our 2015 Dry Traminette has been a hit. We did bottle a very limited amount of Quad Vintage Traminette, a blend of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 traminette. It’s exceptionally smooth and going very quickly. As of late December, we’ve taken it off the list to save the wine from running out during our slow months. If you stop by, we’ll gladly sell you a bottle, but it’s no longer available for tasting. We think we are the first winery ever to pull off “a stunt” like this, blending 4 vintages of a white wine with slight residual sugar available. Our crop this year was a little light due to heavy pruning last winter, but every now and then we need to knock our vines back a bit to keep them healthy.

Catawba: Intensity in fruitfulness. People often ask if weather affects our wines. Yep, sure does. On the afternoon of this harvest a major rain storm was moving in. Since we process outside, if we pressed these grapes, rain water would have fully diluted the juice. We destemmed, crushed and transferred the grapes directly into a fermenter. The result of skin fermented Catawba? A unique, orangish-pinkish glowing wine with complex fruit character and a wine that has got to be off the charts high in anti-oxidants. We filtered and bottled this wine, then very tightly filtered it before bottling. We tested the wine for cold stability. Stuck it in coolers for our fall concert series. And now it’s dropping tartrates. So if you pick up a bottle, just lightly chill it if so desired. Don’t leave it in the fridge.

Diamond: Already bottled some. This wine is full of melon, Star fruit, and pear. A very unique wine in which so many people have tasted thus far and have said, “I know this flavor but I cannot figure out what it is. Very light color. Light, crisp flavor with some nice residual sugar. Named on the list, “Open My Mind 2016. It’s really set up well thus far as the flavors continue to develop. Certainly a winner for our vineyard.

Chambourcin with Corot Noir and Noiret: One for the ages. Currently in barrels with an expected bottle date of around May 2017. We just recently tasted it in the barrels and it’s flat out magnificent. May may be too early at this point. I can easily taste that this wine will age like some of the best chambourcin wines from our vineyard: 2000, 2010 and 2012 come to mind.

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