Category Archives: Wine Growing

A Beautiful Time of the Year in Sebastopol

Just thought I would share our little piece of heaven.  May in Wine Country is perhaps my favorite.  The vines are green, fruit is setting, the weather is perfect and by early June the 6 weeks of intense vineyard work comes to an end.  After two fires in the last three years and a flood in the Barlow a little over a year ago, sure hope we have a non eventful rest of the year…but still 1/2 the normal rainfall.  We are installing a generator for our home this year in case we get fires or PG&E blackouts like last year.

Announcing the release of the 2018 Turtle Vines Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc

We are pleased to announce the release of our 2018 Turtle Vines Pinot Noir. For us, 2018 was our best harvest and we think one of our best vintages to date. The harvest was the end of September, which was later than normal. Cooler temperatures resulted in a fermentation that was almost twice as long as average. This produced a delicate and light strawberry colored wine with aromas of fresh red fruit followed by flavors of raspberry and cherry complimented by a hint of oak. Very easy to cozy up to (or shelter in place with) and pairs nicely with food. We think so much of this wine, that we are entering it in our first big wine event, the “2020 International Women’s Wine Competition”. This wine was to be served at our daughter’s wedding this month which, unfortunately, had to be postponed until the end of 2021 due to the Corona Virus.

For the first time ever, we are offering Joanne’s Sauvignon Blanc for sale. If you have been to our home, these are the vines in the front and side of the house. This is not your ordinary Sauvignon Blanc. While most Sauvignon Blanc is primarily made from Clone 1, ours includes Rochioli and Musque’ Clones to reduce the classic citrus/grassy flavor while giving it more of a flavor of white stone fruit. We soak it on its skins for 12 hours to develop a lovely color and it goes through a secondary fermentation, so it has a smoother mouthfeel than a traditional Sauvignon Blanc. I think you will enjoy this flavor profile. We are limiting sales of this wine to 3 bottles per order while supplies last.

If you haven’t purchased in a while, we changed our packaging in 2017. Our son Vaughn took his original label design and integrated it to a painted bottle. On top of that, to prevent cork issues, we have converted to a glass stopper. Not only is the wine wonderful, but the bottles are keepsakes!

It is hard to believe, but it has been 10 years since we planted the vineyard. Spring is my favorite time as the young vines are a lush green and flowering/fruit set is just around the corner. Even with all the hard work, we can’t forget to enjoy the beauty of everything that surrounds us.

Bottles are $25 for the Sauvignon Blanc and $34 for the Pinot Noir (which includes tax) plus shipping. Minimum order 3 bottles. Orders of 6 or 12 will receive a discount of 50% off shipping.

 

Flowering 2020 – Early start to the “Fruit Season”

Just like bud break, flowering is early this year.  I attribute it to the lack of water early in the season.  In fact we are only about 1/2 of our rainfall for the 2019/20 rainy season and even worse if you just look at 2020.  But…I really don’t want it to rain heavy or be cold and windy for the next 3 weeks to ensure we have a good fruit set.  We put up a second fruit wire in February so I’m hoping to have 40% more clusters this year…will see soon.

A Little Rest and Relaxation – Taipei

Our niece Monica decided to get married in Taipei…so we spent a few days in Taiwan.  It was a wonderful trip to see Doug’s immediate family, Sam’s family, and friends of theirs who made the long trip from the US.  We wish them a long and happy life together!!!

Our hotel was near Taipei 101 which was the world’s tallest building for a number of years…and hard to believe is a “green” building.

In addition we visited the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (unfortunately the building were closed the day we visited for yearly maintenance) and a smaller museum dedicated to the history of Taiwan.  So interesting to learn other peoples history.

Harvest 2019

Another vineyard season comes to an end.  We harvested almost 5 tons of grapes on our 1.3 acres of vineyard, most of which went to Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma for their Sabella Pinot Noir that is sold to individuals and restaurants.

Just have to take off the nets, pre-prune and chip the canes and we can spend the next 4 months winemaking  and recharging for 2020.

Country Champagne

We had an hour before our second Thanksgiving dinner and decided to make country champagne.  Country champagne is made by taking finished wine and adding sugar, yeast and acid and then filling up champagne bottles.  Unlike commercial champagne, we do not disgorge the yeast…we simply leave it on the bottom of the bottle when we drink it.  The champagne process takes approximately 6 months.

We had a little left over so Vaughn demonstrated the art of pouring wine from a 5 gallon bucket to a wine glass!  Quite a good skill to have.

Racking and Oaking using Flextanks and Xoakers

This is the initial racking of our 2018 Pinot Noir.  As you can see we use gravity to transfer from one container to another.  This initial racking removes the dead yeast that was not filtered out during the press process.

Since we don’t use oak barrels…we use Frend Oak Medium Plus Xoakers to add spice and flavor to our wine.  We don’t use barrels since our process is much easier to replicate without the variable that barrels bring to the process.