Daily Archive for July 4th, 2009

Lafond Vineyards, Santa Rita Hills


Hedging is an important part of canopy management. As the season progresses the canes outgrow their retaining wires and fall over the lower leaves, covering the fruit as well. This is very inefficient from the photosynthesis standpoint — leaves in the shade do not contribute — and as they cover the fruit they reduce the benefit of exposure and air movement.

The image is of the hedger, which trims both top and sides of two rows simultaneously. The rows are only six feet wide and with a tractor that allows less than one foot on each side the driver must be attentive.

Pinot Noir cane growth is relatively modest and hedging may be repeated two or thee times during the growing season. Other varieties, such as Syrah, are much more vigorous and may require hedging more frequently.

Santa Barbara Winery New Release

2006 Grenache Syrah

After three decades of wine growing in the Santa Rita Hills, Pierre Lafond and winemaker Bruce McGuire are still experimenting with unconventional varieties in this very cool growing region. Following their successful introduction of Syrah to Santa Rita Hills in the early 1990’s, they are now onto their second vintage of this Grenache/Syrah blend.

Utilizing Syrah from neighbor vineyard, Hilltop Ranch (right across the dirt road) and Grenache that Bruce sourced from the Byron Vineyard up in Santa Maria, Bruce has crafted a wine showing the cool climate spiciness of Syrah and the bright red fruit flavors of Grenache.

The Grenache dominates the blend and helps to tame the Syrah making this middle weight wine more approachable than straight Syrah, and thus easier to pair with a wider range of foods. A delightful wine to have with Spanish tapas, lighter meats, or an afternoon repast of olives, cow’s milk cheeses and fresh bread. This wine should show complete flavor development by the end of 2008 and be quite enjoyable through 2010.

Suggested Retail 22.00
To Order: Santa Barbara Winery