Monthly Archive for August, 2011


These are the last days of bottling before harvest. Harvest is anticipated to begin at the end of September, later than normal. There is always a frenzy towards the end of August to get the wines bottled to free up the tanks. Normally this would not be a good time for us to be doing this.

The first photo shows the cleaning and filling. The second the corking – hard to see what is actually going on but photos of functioning machinery have their own fascination. The third illustrates the one part of bottling that has not been mechanized – putting the capsule over the neck of the bottle before it is spun tight. At 60 bottles per minute it takes considerable manual dexterity, not helped by the fact that the capsules have a tendency to stick together, making them difficult to separate.
Click images to enlarge:

New Release – 2010 Santa Barbara Winery Sauvignon Blanc

Prior to harvest, Winemaker Bruce McGuire is on the road scouting out and securing great lots of Sauvignon Blanc from the eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Taking advantage of a more traditional climate for this grape than our cool climate Lafond Vineyard, Bruce is mindful of the importance of carrying on the style he developed over the years from the Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc previously grown at our vineyard.

McGinley Vineyard is located in Santa Barbara’s newest appellation, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, a warmer area known for producing exceptional Bordeaux varietals. Bruce barrel fermented 22% of the juice in neutral oak puncheons to give texture to the lean character of this wine without compromising the racy acids naturally found in Sauvignon Blanc.

This results in richness and a silky mouthfeel while maintaining true varietal expression. Our Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect wine to pair with light or spicy foods found in Pacific Rim cuisine, and is a favorite with the Thai cuisine we find at Meun Fan restaurant located on the Mesa in Santa Barbara. This fresh-tasting wine is also a great match for many seafood preparations and salads.

Suggested Retail: 15.00/750ml
To Order: Santa Barbara Winery

Lafond Winery Tasting Room

We were asked to send high definition photos of the Lafond Tasting Room interiors. Here are the photos we sent – it shows, among other things, how incredibly well stocked it is with some very interesting and attractive merchandise – the work of Mirella Ramirez, our buyer and manager.

Click images to enlarge:

Lafond Wines in Ontario Canada

Jean Saint-Pierre, my second cousin in Quebec, has sent me copies of the recent Vintages publication in Ontario. Vintages are fine wine stores in the Province of Ontario and because this is Canada, everything is printed in French and English. Vintages loved these wines and made a commitment for what, to us, is a large quantity.
Click images to enlarge:

Turkey Vultures

This is a photo taken through the windshield of my car and at the time I saw only two birds. It is always fascinating to watch these large birds with their extended wingspans flying, taking advantage of the thermal currents and gliding over the vineyard.
Wikipedia has a good entry on these birds with many images.

Wine Club Members BBQ Saturday August 13

Beautiful day. Temperature around 80F and with a nice breeze.

Click images to enlarge:


Veraison is well advanced and netting of the Pinot Noir is almost finished. We are netting only the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay. The Syrah, for some unknown reason is not attractive to starlings…or they are satiated from the earlier ripening varieties.

The netting we use is almost invisible to the casual viewer. It covers only the fruit area and not the canopy, which makes it easy to pick partial rows – all that is needed is to drop the net to the ground. At the end of the season it is rolled up and tied to the drip line on the lower wire.

New Release from Santa Barbara Winery

The noble grape Riesling is enjoying a well earned resurgence of popularity in America as increasing numbers of writers and chefs become enamored with the wine’s flavors and suitability for pairing with a wide range of foods.

Peer through the fog of history and remember Riesling was really one of the first grapes that showed the promise of the Santa Ynez Valley for fine wine growing back in the middle 1970’s.

Pierre Lafond planted the first block of Riesling in our Lafond Vineyard in 1972 and winemaker Bruce McGuire has crafted several styles of this wine since his arrival in 1981.

The amount of residual sugar in each style may vary slightly from year to year as Bruce balances this sweetness with the natural acid level that a particular vintage has achieved.

This particular wine is a slightly sweeter style, with 8.3% residual sugar. Most of this wine comes from the second crop from a new block planted at Lafond Vineyard in 2006.

This block was planted to three clones – Clone 12 from Germany, Clone 49 from Alsace, and our own Lafond Vineyard Clone from vines planted in 1972 of unknown origin.

Clone 49 was the ripest block in Lafond Vineyard. Fermentation was stopped by chilling at relatively low alcohol to showcase the delicious fruit of the Riesling grape.
Suggested Retail: 18.00/750ml
To Order: Santa Barbara Winery

From the Wine Weirdos