It’s been a spectacular spring in the Sierra Foothills. It started with abundant March and April rains (following a dry winter), and the temperatures have remained unusually mild. As this is written on June 9, we are looking at partly cloudy skies (yes, those white things we rarely see in summer after May!) and highs in the mid-70’s. An occasional cool off happens here, but to get this far into the season with no triple-digit days and only a couple as warm as 90 degrees F, that qualifies as a cool spring… We will see if this summer turns out to be an overall cool one as we last had in 2011 (and like for our grapes). The late rain, though welcome, tended to concentrate what is already an intense period of activity in the vineyard in spring with mowing and the start of regular preventative spraying for fungal diseases, in addition to petiole sampling and the start-up of irrigation. However, the cooler-than-normal weather has made all of that bearable for the growers. We received our last rain–what we expect will be the last until September or October–at the usual time right before Memorial Day weekend.
As we sit now in early June, the vineyard is in fantastic shape. Shoot thinning was completed–in a major operation–at the optimal time. The vines look healthy and are almost done their linear shoot growth for the year. Having recently set fruit–“bloom” happened in the last 1-2 weeks–the vines are about to switch gears toward fruit growth. As the berries grow in size, we will soon get an idea about the quality and quantity of fruit set for the vintage. So far though, it looks quite promising out there, and weed control is good.
On the wine competition front, primitivo grapes made with our 2016 grapes into vineyard-designated wines by two commercial wineries, Due Vigne di Famiglia out of Clarksburg and Oakstone Winery out of Fair Play, both captured silver medals in the commercial wine competition of the 2018 El Dorado County Fair. Due Vigne additionally picked up a bronze for a barbera wine made from our 2016 grapes. Congratulations to the winemakers. On the home winemaker front, a dry red blend made from our Quinta block, also 2016 vintage, won a Double Gold at the 2018 El Dorado County Fair, and a touriga nacional (non-Quinta) earned a bronze. The former added to a long list of high honors for our Quinta block of Portugese varietals.
We are down to 1 ton of 2018 barbera that is uncommitted; otherwise, we welcome wait list requests for most of our varietals. Please see our “Grapes Available” postings which we always try to keep current.