Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Bottling at Santa Barbara Winery

We have started bottling again after a 5 month interval. At wineries it seems there are 2 seasons, harvest and bottling. Now that we have started we will be bottling until the middle of August. During that time we also need to get the wine ready, blend it, stabilize it and just before bottling filter it.

Bottling requires meticulous care – The equipment must be absolutely clean and is sterilized before and after bottling. The air entering the bottling room is tightly filtered removing any possibility of air-borne particles contaminating the line. The corks are sterilized and come in sealed bags.

The journey from tank to bottle is a closed system and in the case of white wine passes through a micro filter before reaching the bottling line. These are a few images which can be enlarged by clicking.

Images by Pablo from Lafond Winery Valentine Weekend Open House

The Vino Train

This weekend there are train arrivals both Saturday and Sunday. What better way to come to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles on a very rainy day. The photo, taken by Carlos, shows the group around the Santa Barbara Winery Tasting Bar which fortunately can accommodate large groups.

The Overland Trail is a special luxurious car attached to the regular Amtrak scheduled train. It arrives at 10:30 and leaves Santa Barbara at 4:30 giving visitors ample opportunity to visit other Tasting Rooms, have a leisurely lunch and return to Los Angeles in style.
For more information: Overland Tail

The Vino Train from Los Angeles

Overland Trail is a unique way to experience Santa Barbara’s Urban Wineries.

For the discriminating adventurer, yesterday’s pleasures of railway travel are still at hand. Treat yourself, your significant other, family or friends to California’s beauty by rail as we journey along Santa Fe’s famed surf line between Los Angeles and San Diego or the former Southern Pacific’s line up to Santa Barbara. Our on board service will delight your taste buds — your fare includes freshly prepared food and beverages. While on board, traditionally attired porters will serve you at your seat, recorded big band music sets the mood and seaside vistas fill our large picture windows … everything for a wonderful trip aboard the time machine known as … the Overland Trail!

You can reach them through their website: Overland Trail

New Release 2008 Lafond Vineyard Martin Ray Clone

Nestled in the Santa Rita Hills of the western Santa Ynez Valley, Lafond Vineyard is ideally situated to produce Pinot Noir exhibiting the unique and exotic flavor profile one finds in only a few regions of the world. Specific areas within our vineyard exhibit elevated concentration and complexity due to soil type and exposure to the elements.

We have planted eight distinct clones of Pinot Noir, each with subtle differences in flavor and aroma. After several years of working with the eight Pinot Noir clones planted in Lafond Vineyard, Bruce has become very familiar with the attributes of each particular clone and uses them accordingly in each of the Pinot Noirs he makes.

The Martin Ray Clone was the first Pinot Noir planted in the Lafond Vineyard back in 1982, on the north side of the Santa Ynez River. The comparison of these clones from the same vintage gives one the winemaker’s view of a rather new element in winemaking as the availability of many Pinot Noir clones is a viticultural story less than twenty years old in North America.

Frost in the spring after bud break, reduced tonnage to1.1 tons per acre. Lower yields brought intense concentration of fruit, and very high quality to the vintage. The complexity and depth of flavor make this Pinot Noir a great match with savory foods such as lamb, Copper River salmon, and hearty mushroom dishes.
Suggested Retail: 45.00
To Order: Lafond Winery & Vineyards

Pinot Noir Vineyard in Winter Friday 2/11/11

This vineyard will be pruned within the next week or so but at the moment looks pretty desolate. Click to enlarge:


Images of our new pre-pruner. The images are from a young block where the canes show moderate growth. In older blocks the canes are longer and larger and without the pre-pruner need to be pulled apart. Not only are they intertwined but are attached to the guide wires requiring a great deal of pulling and cutting.

The pre-pruner is adjusted to leave canes of 8 to 10 inches. The pruners will then come along and cut these canes to 2 to 4 inches leaving 2 buds on each spur. These buds will grow the fruit canes and carry the grape clusters.

As the photo shows the cutters pull apart at the posts using an electronic sensing device. Eventually by locating the four spurs on the permanent cane further from the posts the pre-pruner will leave very few uncut canes.

The tractor goes through the vineyard at a fairly fast clip which means that the driver needs to pay serious attention. Six foot wide rows are very unforgiving. We prune fairly late in the season in the hope of delaying growth and reducing the danger of frost damage.
Click images to enlarge:

Wine and Truffles