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What’s Happening in the Vineyard – October

October 7, 2014

Well, harvest has begun for 2014. The crop looks good this year, but let’s go back to the beginning of this year, which is what makes this vintage what it is. February came in with 7 ¾ inches of rain. Ripping the soil really helped by opening up and airing out the ground. This helps leaching the salts down and letting the microbes do their work. A living soil is better than a dead soil, and salts kill the soil.

The weather was excellent, warm early temperatures got us off to a good start and carried into August. Cooled down awhile and then back up, but kept our 50-degree swing in temperatures all season, which was perfect for ripening and creating a good balance of sugar and acids.

“The Grapes”
Here we go – Syrah had great sugar, great numbers, dark color almost florescent; bright aromas, maybe better than last year. The crop tonnage is the same as last year. Merlot is better than last year, color wise, and the sugar and crop are bigger than last year. Malbec, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel are new varietals for Doce Robles this year. The Malbec looks great. I never realized how dark it is. Petite Sirah is good across the board and very dark. Zinfandel is typical, average or above for Zinfandel. It’s not over the top on sugar, so the alcohol will be just over 14%. That is good because my preference is not to have high alcohol. I enjoy drinking wine, so the lower it is, the longer I enjoy myself.

In the next few days, we will start picking Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. The Cabernet Sauvignon berries look a little bigger this year. Bunch count is the same, but bigger berries will change things. Barbera count is down, along with the berry size. Last year was a record producing year, but time will tell what 2014 is like, and it’s looking good so far.

In closing, growing and making wine is a labor of love. I am a farmer first, and winemaker second, it comes that way naturally for me.

Cheers and a toast to 2014