Monthly Archive for March, 2011

Wine & Cheese Pairing at Santa Barbara Winery

Come and join us at Santa Barbara Winery for our upcoming Wine and Cheese Pairing with C’est Cheese!
Wine and Cheese Pairing
Saturday, April 16th 6-8pm 30.00
25.00 for Santa Barbara Winery and Lafond Winery Club Members

Join us on an exploration of cheese and wine pairing. Kathryn Graham from C’est Cheese, Santa Barbara’s premier cheese shop, will be our guide for the evening. Our focus will be cheeses from Italy. We’ll learn the history of the cheese, how it’s made and best of all how these cheeses pair with our wine. This will be a fun, relaxed evening of fine wine and decadent cheese.
Seating is limited. Please call or email to make your reservation.
805 963 3633 Santa Barbara Winery 202 Anacapa Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Discing

Now with the rains almost over and the vines beginning to grow we will soon be discing our cover crop. The cover crop not only protects from erosion but also contributes to the health of the soil. During vine growth we want whatever nutrition is in the soil to go to the vine. It is still a little too soon after the rain to get tractors in the field but any equipment that has been standing idle for almost a year needs to be fixed and adjusted.

Pinot Noir

With the warmer weather Pinot Noir is beginning to bud. This is a photo of one of the more advanced vines.
Click image to enlarge:

New Release – 2008 Arita Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir Clone 667

Nestled in the Santa Rita Hills of the western Santa Ynez Valley, Arita Hills Vineyard neighbors Lafond Vineyard and 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.

There is tremendous diversity within Pinot Noir, manifested in different clones – fundamentally subdivisions of the varietal. The bottling of these clones individually showcases a further level of distinction within the species.

Clone 667 is a Dijonnaise clone, and is known for its masculine structure. Pure high tone aromas and an inherent firmness make this a ruggedly graceful bottling.

This small lot produced less than 100 cases, making this a very special wine. The complexity and depth of flavor make this Pinot Noir a great match with an artisan Stilton cheese as well as roasted or grilled game.
Suggested retail: 45.00
To order: www.lafondwinery.com

First Budding – Chardonnay

Click image to enlarge:

Compost

Click images to enlarge:

During winter we converted our pressed white grape skins and stems from both red and white grapes into compost. Adding straw and turning over frequently we produced a dark, and what seems rich, compost.

The pressed red grapes we let dry and use for ground cover. Because they are fermented dry with the skins red wine pressings have no nutritional value and are not considered as good candidates for composting.

The first image shows workers shoveling compost out of a trailer being pulled by a tractor and the second David Lafond examining the applied compost. The compost is being applied to the weakest blocks which are also the sandiest.

Santa Barbara Winery – Wine and Cheese Pairing

Wine and Cheese Pairing
Saturday, April 16th
6-8pm
30.00
25.00 for Club Members

Join us on an exploration of cheese and wine pairing. Kathryn Graham from C’est Cheese, Santa Barbara’s premier cheese shop, will be our guide for the evening. Our focus will be cheeses from Italy. We’ll learn the history of the cheese, how it’s made and best of all how these cheeses pair with our wine. This will be a fun, relaxed evening of fine wine and decadent cheese.

Seating is limited. Please call or email to make your reservation. 805 963 3633

Mowing Cover Crop

Frost Protection

It feels awfully cold right now but Spring is just around the corner. The vines are about to bud and frost becomes the number one enemy. The six weeks from the middle of March to the end of April are the most critical.

The bulky and aesthetically challenged machine, above, is a large 9 foot diameter horizontal fan connected to a gasoline powered engine. The fan pushes the air upward approximately 300 feet.

The machines are placed in the lowest parts of the vineyard where the cold air collects. By circulating the air it allows the warmer layers above to replace those below. We now have six of these machines, strategically placed, and when the temperature drops to, say 37 degrees, they are all turned on and allowed to run until morning.

And when the temperature does drop to 37 degrees, usually around 2:00am, Enrique gets up, gets dressed and goes out to start the engines.
Hopefully, this year, Enrique’s sleep will be uninterrupted.

The End of Pruning – for this year

We are almost done with pruning – probably by the end of next week. The pre-pruner cuts the canes to about 12 inches in length, making the physical part of cutting back to two buds, much easier. Enrique, our foreman, tells me that productivity has more than doubled.

One of the benefits of being able to prune so quickly is that we can delay pruning until February and in that way reduce the danger of early frost. Budding does not generally start until after pruning, the pruning by eliminating last year’s canes makes it easier for the vine to come alive.

I have posted similar photos before but these show the process – first the pruner through the vines, close up of the gnashing teeth and finally the end result. Check out the driver it’s cold!
Images may be enlarged by clicking.
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