Current Grapes Available 6/20/2022

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
***
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
Barbera2.0early-mid SeptNA$1.10/lb
Primitivo0.5late Aug-early SeptNA$1.00/lb
Quinta* blend0.5early-mid SeptNA$1.20/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)2.0late Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$1.15/lb
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2004/2005 and is a field blend of Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz), Tinta Cao, Souzao, and Tinta Amarela.
**”Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks.

***Minimum order in 2022 is 0.5 tons (1000 lbs)

Vineyard Diary 6/17/22

The 2022 growing season is well in swing now, as we enjoy unseasonably cool temperatures for a couple days with the official start of summer in less than a week away. It was yet another unique weather pattern in the fall and winter, with an “atmospheric river” storm in late October delivering a big bolus of fall rain, a disappointing pause in precipitation, a delightfully wet period in late December with ample rain and snow, a major pause in precipitation for the rest of winter, an “April miracle” of 4-5 more inches of additional rain. A couple insignificant early June storms capped the choppy rainy season, which in the end provided us probably average rainfall if counting the big October storm, though it’s still officially drought conditions in much of the state. The bigger event for 2022 weather was 1 or 2 frost events in early April and, for some, in May, which will likely significantly decrease the 2022 grape crop from the Sierra Foothills. Frost generally doesn’t kill older vines, but it will kill new shoot growth–which much of the region had as of the first frost (it had been 90 degrees only 2 days before)–and the replacement shoots that a vine puts out in abundance are typically less fruitful. At Shaker Ridge, we had pretty minimum impact of the April frost (and none from the May frost) due to our vineyard’s altitude at “only” ~1500 feet (limiting the cold) and the excellent “air drainage” (cool air is heavier and flows away from a locally elevated site) of our vineyards. The biggest impact was in our Tinta Cao grapes whose buds push early and so were farther along than other varietals when the first frost hit; we’ll see decreased yield in those.

In April, we resumed a grafting project begun in 2021 which will bring additional Tempranillo, Souzao, and Rhone varietals (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre) beginning next year, at least in home winemaker quantities. These came at the expense of former Primitivo vines that were on a different soil type than our main Primitivo block or at the edges of this block. The net effect is that we now have a large block of Primitivo on a relatively uniform soil type–our rocky, red clay loam–and by next season will bring larger quantities of our Iberian/Portuguese varietals, having already expanded our Touriga Nacional and Tinta Amarela offerings–and a new block of Rhone varietals which we’ll likely sell as a field blend for “GSM” blends.

Due to limited time to devote in 2022, we are farming only about 75% of our site, letting some of the Barbera grow untended so that we can focus scarce time and water resources on the rest. The vines have all past through bloom at this point, so have nearly full length shoots and fruit set, and will now be focusing their energies on developing the young berries. We have managed to avoid triple digit temperatures to date, and all looks good in the vineyard. We omitted weed spraying in the vine rows with herbicide this year and saw those quickly fill in, mostly with clover, and we’ll see how that experiment goes as the season progresses.

Again due to limited time to devote, we are looking to simplify harvest logistics in 2022, and so at this time are only committing to half-ton (1000 lb) or greater orders, and have limited quantities of Barbera, Primitivo, Touriga Nacional, and a field blend of Portuguese varietals from our well-decorated Quinta block still available. Speaking of the latter, we recently learned that a home winemaker client won Best of Show honors (in port category) at a top California fair with a port-style wine made from our 2019 Quinta grapes, beating out a double gold single-varietal port entry from the same client made from our 2018 Primitivo grapes. For our part, we earned a gold medal at the El Dorado County Fair (home winemaker competition) with our 2020 “Pandemic Primitivo”.

We look forward to a strong 2022 vintage for our clients.

.

Current Grapes Available 6/16/2022

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
***
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
Barbera2.5early-mid SeptNA$1.10/lb
Primitivo0.5late Aug-early SeptNA$1.00/lb
Quinta* blend0.5early-mid SeptNA$1.20/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)2.0late Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$1.15/lb
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2004/2005 and is a field blend of Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz), Tinta Cao, Souzao, and Tinta Amarela.
**”Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks.

***Minimum order in 2022 is 0.5 tons (1000 lbs)

Vineyard Diary 10-30-21

Another growing season is now in the record books. This one will be remembered for 3 things: an unusually dry spring, an exceptionally hot summer, and the Caldor Fire. The latter started to our east in August and swept in all directions, most notably leveling the small town of Grizzly Flat. It stretched west through the Fair Play region, up river valleys, until stopped by a dedicated effort by locals and Cal Fire. Foiled coming west, it swept along Highway 50 and over Echo Summit into the Tahoe basin, where it was again stopped by dedicated efforts and, ultimately, more favorable weather. In the end, it scorched over 200,000 acres. Though the fire never got closer than about 8 miles to us, it was close enough, and we certainly saw some smoke over us for a couple weeks, typically in morning. Harvest came fast and furious from there, with the hot weather pushing ripening surprisingly early relative to a normal to slightly late bud burst. As such, we picked most of our fruit by mid-September, and but for one grafted field of Touriga Nacional that carried a heavy crop and so took longer to ripen, with last harvest on October 16, it would have been wrapped up very early this year.

In the end, we picked wine grapes for 5 commercial wineries and about 20 home winemakers, selling out of most of our varietals in, what was for many growers, a light harvest year. The fruit seemed to be of high quality, and we look forward to tasting, at some point in the future, the fruits of our labors in the form of finished wine. We thank our clients as always for their good communication, flexibility around harvest, and on-time pickups that make hectic harvest days manageable, and our good neighbor for helping out with the forklift as he has for years.

In 2021 we harvested our first cabernet sauvignon, having grafted over just a few rows last year, and look forward to seeing what quality of cabernet is possible from our site. Though our grafting project for Rhone varietals was not as successful as hoped, we do have a few vines established of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvedre that will provide the budwood for a more concerted future effort.

After literally half a dozen separate rain storms in September and October that yielded only 1 inch of rain among them, we enjoyed (vicariously–we were out of town!) an “atmospheric river” on October 23-24 that dumped approximately 5 inches of rain on our site and much greater quantities at higher elevations. The local vegetation finally got a drink, our local river and streams finally got a little flow, and we hope that this is the start of a decent wet season for us, as we really need it.

.

Current Grapes Available 10/15/21

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
BarberaSOLD OUTearly-mid Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
PrimitivoSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lb$0.85/lb
Touriga (Quinta*)SOLD OUTmid Sept$1.15/lb$1.05/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)SOLD OUTlate Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Muscat BlancSOLD OUTlate Aug$1.00/lbNA
SouzaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
TempranilloSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lbNA
Tinta AmarelaSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Tinta CaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2005; this is the Touriga Nacional from that block. “Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks. **Remaining fruit is late-harvest fruit:

Current Grapes Available 10/7/21

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
BarberaSOLD OUTearly-mid Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
PrimitivoSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lb$0.85/lb
Touriga (Quinta*)SOLD OUTmid Sept$1.15/lb$1.05/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)0.25late Sept-early Oct$0.95/lbNA
Muscat BlancSOLD OUTlate Aug$1.00/lbNA
SouzaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
TempranilloSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lbNA
Tinta AmarelaSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Tinta CaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2005; this is the Touriga Nacional from that block. “Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks. **Remaining fruit is late-harvest fruit:

Current Grapes Available 10/2/21

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
BarberaSOLD OUTearly-mid Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
PrimitivoSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lb$0.85/lb
Touriga (Quinta*)SOLD OUTmid Sept$1.15/lb$1.05/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)0.5late Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Muscat BlancSOLD OUTlate Aug$1.00/lbNA
SouzaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
TempranilloSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lbNA
Tinta AmarelaSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Tinta CaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2005; this is the Touriga Nacional from that block. “Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks. **Remaining fruit is late-harvest fruit:

Current Grapes Available 9/26/21

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
Barbera**0.25early-mid Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
PrimitivoSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lb$0.85/lb
Touriga (Quinta*)SOLD OUTmid Sept$1.15/lb$1.05/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)0.25late Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Muscat BlancSOLD OUTlate Aug$1.00/lbNA
SouzaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
TempranilloSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lbNA
Tinta AmarelaSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Tinta CaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2005; this is the Touriga Nacional from that block. “Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks. **Remaining fruit is late-harvest fruit: 30+ brix, intact but past optimal time for a dry red and more suitable for a dessert style wine.

Grape Chemistry 9-25-21

Varietal Date Sugar (Brix) pH Total Acidity (%)
Primitivo 8-15-21 24.8 3.34 0.87
  8-22-21 25.2 3.43 0.68
  8-29-21 28.3 3.54 0.68
Barbera 8-15-21 23.4 3.14 1.30
  8-22-21 25.4 3.18 1.14
  8-29-21 28.2 3.37 0.96
Tempranillo 8-15-21 20.8 3.63 0.45
  8-22-21 21.8 3.75 0.37
  8-29-21 23.8 3.84 0.33
Touriga (Quinta) 9-4-21 23.7 3.49 0.57
Touriga (NQ) 8-28-21 21.0 3.32 0.66
  9-12-21 23.0 3.54 0.48
Touriga (NQ 2) 9-6-21 20.5 3.28 0.63
  9-13-21 21.3 3.35 0.60
  9-25-21 22.9 3.48 0.56
Cabernet Sauvignon 9-6-21 23.8 3.52 0.59
Tinta Cao 8-28-21 21.4 3.34 0.78
  9-12-21 23.5 3.62 0.54
Tinta Amarela 8-28-21 17.6 3.45 0.62
  9-13-21 23.2 3.62 0.56

Current Grapes Available 9/18/21

VarietalAmount Still Available for Sale (tons)Expected Optimal Harvest TimePrice
(< 0.5 tons)
Price
(0.5 ton or more)
BarberaSOLD OUTearly-mid Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
PrimitivoSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lb$0.85/lb
Touriga (Quinta*)SOLD OUTmid Sept$1.15/lb$1.05/lb
Touriga (Non-Quinta*)0.5late Sept-early Oct$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Muscat BlancSOLD OUTlate Aug$1.00/lbNA
SouzaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
TempranilloSOLD OUTearly Sept$1.00/lbNA
Tinta AmarelaSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lb$0.95/lb
Tinta CaoSOLD OUTmid-late Sept$1.00/lbNA
*”Quinta” refers to our block of 5 Iberian varietals planted in 2005; this is the Touriga Nacional from that block. “Non-Quinta” refers to Touriga Nacional grown in other blocks.