Current Grape Availability 5-27-20

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera            2.5 Mid Sept 1.00/lb
Primitivo         0.5 Early Sept 1.00/lb
Touriga WAITLIST Mid Sept-Mid Oct 1.00/lb
Quinta***                WAITLIST Mid Sept-Early Oct $300/share
       
       

*Not currently planned for production this year, but final decision in May 2020.  Inquire for more  information.

**Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

***The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2004 and 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is Touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be Touriga.  Harvest will be on a single, specific Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the Touriga Nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Current Grape Availability 5-19-20

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera            0.5 Mid Sept 1.00/lb
Primitivo ON HOLD* Early Sept 1.00/lb
Touriga WAITLIST Mid Sept-Mid Oct 1.00/lb
Quinta***                 1 share Mid Sept-Early Oct $300/share
       
       

*Not currently planned for production this year, but final decision in May 2020.  Inquire for more  information.

**Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

***The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2004 and 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is Touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be Touriga.  Harvest will be on a single, specific Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the Touriga Nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Current Grape Availability 5-18-20

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera            0.5 Mid Sept 1.00/lb
Primitivo ON HOLD* Early Sept 1.00/lb
Touriga WAITLIST Mid Sept-Mid Oct 1.00/lb
Quinta***                 2 shares Mid Sept-Early Oct $300/share
       
       

*Not currently planned for production this year, but final decision in May 2020.  Inquire for more  information.

**Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

***The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2004 and 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is Touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be Touriga.  Harvest will be on a single, specific Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the Touriga Nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Current Grape Availability 5-17-20

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera            0.5 Mid Sept 1.00/lb
Primitivo ON HOLD* Early Sept 1.00/lb
Touriga WAITLIST Mid Sept-Mid Oct 1.00/lb
Quinta***                 6 shares Mid Sept-Early Oct $300/share
       
       

*Not currently planned for production this year, but final decision in May 2020.  Inquire for more  information.

**Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

***The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2004 and 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is Touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be Touriga.  Harvest will be on a single, specific Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the Touriga Nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Vineyard Diary 4-26-20

The “March Miracle” of generous rainfall continued briefly into April and then shutdown abruptly, giving way to sunny or partly sunny skies and slowly warming temperatures, culminating in some 80-degree plus days in late April. With a full soil profile of water, this was the signal that the grapes and annual grasses were waiting for, and the reluctantly green hillside gave way to verdant green, though inevitably to be baked to brown. We’ll enjoy the perfect spring weather and beautiful green in the meantime.

The vines didn’t come awake until mid-April, and though the different varietals pushed buds in their customary temporal order, it was a compressed period of about 2 weeks in which each of the varietals pushed. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the pause (finish?) of rain and start of budburst to finish grinding the winter prunings and get some weed sprays down before the grapes pushed. We have since already started shoot thinning in our earliest pushing varieties: tinta tao, muscat canelli, and tempranillo.

This past week was an historic one for our vineyard, as we cut down 500 of our 18-yo primitivo vines to graft over to additional touriga nacional, tinta amarela, and cabernet sauvignon. The section of the Primitivo vineyard chosen was one with a distinctly different soil than the balance, so we think this operation, while obviously providing some of the above varietals, will make for a more uniformly ripe Primitivo crop and benefit that varietal. The cab is a modest planting suitable only for home winemaker-type quantities and very much experimental. Though cab can readily grown well in most climates, it does not necessarily make the best wine in all climates, and the Sierra Foothills are not traditionally a strong area for this classic varietal. However, we had to take a shot, and we have chosen the highest point of our vineyard and a somewhat shaded area on well-drained soil, and we’ll see what’s possible with good care. When cabernet was grown more extensively in the area about 40 years ago, it was in an era that predated the widespread use of viticultural practices likely to give the best quality wines. Some excellent cabernet has been since made by certain growers in the Foothills, so we know that quality is achievable on the right site with the right care.

The tinta amarela planted would, for the first time, give us perhaps half-ton quantities that might be usable by a microwinery or home winemaker working on scale. It makes a lovely fruity dry wine or rose in addition to its traditional use in port-style blends. We have heretofore only had a modest planting as part of our Quinta block.

Shaker Ridge is pleased to offer again in 2020 our Quinta fruit as 250-lb shares. These allow buyers working on a home winemaker scale to obtain, with one stop, a complex blend of 5 different Portugese varietals suitable for a classic port-style wine or for a delicious, complex dry red. The grapes will be distributed on a single Saturday in the mid-September to mid-October time frame to be determined.

Vineyard Diary 3-30-20

It’s been an interesting start to the 2020 vintage to say the least. Weather-wise, it was a suitably cold but by no means frigid winter that coughed up a little rain in December, very little in January, and not a drop in February. March has come to the rescue with around 8 inches of rain, just in time to get the soil profile filled with moisture and for the warming temperatures to get some green growth started. Budburst is still barely visible in our earliest grape varietals–held back in part by late pruning of last year’s wood–but seems sure to burst forth in earnest later this week. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 virus and the measures to slow its spread are having a major impact on life in general, though farming generally goes on…social distancing comes relatively naturally in the vineyard. That said, local commercial wineries face closures of tasting rooms during what is normally a busy time of year for wine-tasting in the Sierra Foothills when temperatures are still cool enough to enjoy a red wine and it is particularly scenic, with green hillsides and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Completely independent of the COVID-19 situation, we had decided to scale back our grape growing this year to give ourselves a break from the routine, and this is reflected in our recently posted current grape availability. We are planning to farm our Touriga, a limited amount of Barbera, and are again selling grapes from our Quinta block of Portugese varietals as “shares”. As Tempranillo yield has been slowly declining over the years, we are adding a couple adjacent short rows of Tempranillo planted in 2004 to the Quinta, which we have been otherwise selling separately. These will enable buyers, with one-stop (a single designated Saturday TBD in mid-Sept to mid-Oct period) to pick up a field blend of our Portugese varietals in 250-lb with suitable ripeness for either a fortified (port-style) wine or as a complex red. We continue farming activities in the balance of the vineyard as normal for now, and will be making a final decision in the May time frame in terms of seeking a crop from our Primitivo and the balance of our Barbera. Please inquire if you have interest in these beyond posted quantities.

Current Grape Availability 3-30-20

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera            0.5 Mid Sept 1.00/lb
Primitivo ON HOLD* Early Sept 1.00/lb
Touriga WAITLIST Mid Sept-Mid Oct 1.00/lb
Quinta***                 10 shares Mid Sept-Early Oct $300/share
       
       

*Not currently planned for production this year, but final decision in May 2020.  Inquire for more  information.

**Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

***The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2004 and 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is Touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be Touriga.  Harvest will be on a single, specific Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the Touriga Nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Vineyard Diary-11/17/19

Our 2019 grape harvest drew to a close on September 27 with a final small Barbera pick, crowning what was an intense but ultimately successful harvest season at Shaker Ridge. Our total production of around 20 tons of fruit went to 3 commercial wineries, a couple soon-to-be commercial wineries, and numerous home winemakers. We had a number of challenges thrown at us during harvest, beginning with intermittent forklift malfunction at our first large-scale harvest (Primitivo) of the season, a pump failure on our well between harvests, weight scale breakdown immediately before a harvest for which it was particularly needed, and scheduling challenges with a commercial winery relative to labor availability. As usual, it all worked out, thanks to skilled service availability on short notice, neighbors generous with their time, some quick adjustments, and client flexibility and patience.

We were treated to four rain events between Sept 15 and Sept 30, providing several inches of rain, and both the frequency and volume were exceptional for us in the Sierra Foothills and seemed to portend a (welcome) wet fall. Unfortunately, October brought not a single drop of rain, nor has November through today, and there is still none in the forecast a week out. During this dry period, we experienced 3 planned power outages courtesy of PG&E which, beyond the obvious inconvenience, also meant no water, as no electricity generally = no water for those on wells. However, we are grateful that there have been no major local fires this season to date and that we were done with grape harvest before the power outages began. The dry sunny fall has meant that we continue to enjoy homegrown, vine-ripened tomatoes into late November, and it’s been a stellar year for olive and kiwifruit harvest.

We would like to thank our clients, as always, for their business and working with us through the busy harvest period. We were especially excited to offer “shares” of our Portugese varietal vineyard again this year, thank our Quinta clients for their patience on harvest day, and greatly look forward to the fine wines that we anticipate will result from their efforts. We have reason to think that the 2019 vintage will prove to be a strong one, but the proof will be in the pudding….and our clients’ cellars.

Current Grape Availability 9-22-19

Varietal Amount Still Available for Sale (tons) Expected Optimal Harvest Time Price ($)
Barbera 0.5 Mid Sept 1.05/lb
Primitivo SOLD OUT Early-Mid Sept 0.95/lb
Tempranillo* SOLD OUT Early Sept. 1.05/lb
Quinta**                  SOLD OUT Mid Sept-Late Sept $300/share
 Touriga* SOLD OUT Late Sept 1.05/lb
       

*Non-Quinta=Iberian varietals not part of Quinta field.

**The Quinta = A field of touriga nacional, tempranillo, tinta cao, souzao, tinta amarela planted in 2005.  One share entitles holder to 250 lb of a field blend of Quinta grapes in the proportions that they are harvested this year.  For example, if 40% of the total Quinta production is touriga, then 40% of each shareholder’s 250 lb allotment will be touriga.  Harvest will be on a Saturday to accommodate home winemakers, with date optimized around ripeness of the touriga nacional.  The Quinta has historically provided superb grapes for a port-style blend as well as dry red blend.

***Wait list requests on a first-come, first-served basis.  Wait list does not commit to purchase, but should grapes become available, persons/entities on wait list will have 24 hr to commit or not, at which point the next person/entity will be contacted, and so on, until grapes are sold.  

 

Grape Chemistry 9-15-19

Varietal Date Sugar (Brix) pH Total Acidity (%)
Primitivo 8-24-19 (1) 22.4               3.37 1.04
  8-24-19 (2)        22.8 3.37 0.97
  8-24-19 (mean) 22.6 3.37 1.00
  8-31-19 (1) 24.9 3.40 0.66
  8-31-19 (2)   24.3 3.48 0.64
  8-31-19 (mean) 24.6 3.44 0.65
Barbera 8-25-19 21.5 3.07 1.60
  8-31-19 (1) 21.7 3.02 1.24
  8-31-19 (2) 21.6 3.04 1.29
  8-31-19 (mean) 21.6 3.03 1.26
  9-8-19 25.6 3.23 1.11
  9-8-19 26.3 3.22 1.20
  9-8-19 (mean) 26.0 3.22 1.16
 

9-14-19              (Block 2 only)

25.8 3.13 1.05
Temapranillo                9-6-19 24.0 3.80 0.36
Touriga (Quinta) 9-8-19 23.0 3.40 0.63
  9-15-19 23.9 3.36 0.59
         
touriga (non-Quinta) 9-8-19 22.0 3.35 0.62
  9-15-19 22.1 3.29 0.64