Monthly Archive for July, 2010

7.30.10 Santa Barbara Winery Tasting Room

(Click image to enlarge)

Latest News from the Vineyard

(Click images to enlarge)

We don’t generally show horses on our blog but these are new and in a new corral that David has just built. Of course, riding through the vineyard on a tall horse is part of almost every one’s fantasy but there is also a practical purpose – we think.

This is the time of year when we start sampling grapes – grabbing bunches indiscriminately and analyzing the juice. Normally we use ATVs but these are in constant use and hard to find when you need one. This is where the horses come in.

There are problems, of course, and one of them is that the rider is too high above the fruit zone to comfortably grab the the bunches and the other is, where to put the 5gal. buckets that are used to collect the samples. This may take a little more work.

Alder Shade Trees

We lost an older tree, of undetermined lineage, at the vineyard and will be planting three new Alders to replace it. Alders are fast growing and since they will be planted in the lawn area will be well watered. Excess water probably killed the older tree which originally was not part of the lawn.

The Nursery tells us that Alders can grow 6 to 7 feet a year and although deciduous loose their leaves late in the year and leaf very early – a two month gap without foliage, usually December and January, an ideal shade tree under which to picnic and drink a glass Chardonnay on a warm summer day.

Veraison Pinot Noir

It is a little late this year but finally we have veraison in the Pinot Noir. It came rather suddenly, less than a week ago there was no sign and now it is everywhere. This means two things; one the harvest will probably start in early September and two, we need to net the vines.

Netting will start in early August. This year we are experimenting with a new type of netting – one that covers only the fruit area as opposed to covering several rows at a time which makes access complicated. In addition, the new netting, instead of being removed at harvest, will be rolled and tied to the lower drip line wire and remain there until needed again.

It seems like a brilliant idea, greatly reducing labor, making access for sampling a lot easier and depriving our winged friends the opportunity of feasting on our grapes.
(Click image to enlarge)

Lafond Vineyard Burning Creek Block

(click image to enlarge)

Our Burning Creek block, 37 acres of Pinot Noir planted last year, is doing extremely well. This spring we cut the vine back to two buds, keeping it still in the growth tube. The first year the vine grows a root system, the second year the canes that will bear fruit in the third year.

The whole block has thrived. The vine in the photo has two canes extending well above the growth tube, these will be tied to the wire this coming winter and next spring the canes that grow from it will carry the fruit.

Hand Bottling Large Bottles at Santa Barbara Winery

(Click image to enlarge)

Here Winemaker, Bruce McGuire, is hand bottling 1.5 liter bottles. First he fills the bottle with an inert gas, such as nitrogen, to protect the wine from exposure to oxygen – which accounts for the the gas cylender in the background.

The wine used is stored in beer barrels and is pushed into the bottles by the same inert gas used to protect the wine at bottling. Bruce will also fill 3 and 5 liter bottles and occasionally a 9 liter bottle.

Private Tasting at Santa Barbara Winery-America’s Builder D.R. Horton-Host Chris Bacon

(Click image to enlarge)

Private Tasting Group at Santa Barbara Winery

(Click imges to enlarge)

Lafond Vineyard in July – The River is Hidden by the Trees and the Winery is at the Foot of the Hills Beyond the River

(click to enlarge)

Thursday July 8, 2010 Bottling Lafond Pinot Noir

Printing Labels

We went to WS Packaging in San Luis Obispo today, Friday July 2, first to OK the label quality but also to see how it is done. This is their ‘off-set’ press which produces their highest quality label. This line is 65 feet long – very long. They also have two shorter lines that are not  ‘off-set’ that produce labels for different requirements, such as metallic coated labels.

I cannot explain the various stages but the line, in the case of our label, prints the label, adds color, a gold metallic bar and embeds parts of the label.
Click images to enlarge.