Monthly Archive for September, 2011

Private Tasting Lafond Winery Patio Saturday Sept. 24

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Saturday September 24th Bruce Punching Down First Pinot

One by hand and two with mechanical assistance.

Winery Fun Facts

In the spirit of California Wine Month, take a look at these winery fun facts below.  Some fun trivia to impress your friends at your next tasting room visit:

One barrel of wine equals approximately 24.6 (12-bottle) cases and 1,180 glasses.
One ton of grapes makes about 780 bottles of wine, or 65 cases.
One vine produces between four and six bottles of wine.
Approximately 2.8 pounds of grapes are used to make one bottle of wine.

Pinot Noir 9.20.11

Today was warm, in the 80s, exactly what we need to ripen grapes. Winemaker Bruce McGuire was sampling the Pinot Noir.

Bruce commented – it’s not quite there, the flavors are good, the color is good but the seeds are not sufficiently brown and the skin is still too crispy.

The samples show a sugar of over 24 degrees brix and the ph is perfect but we need to hold off a few days until all these factors are in alignment. Bruce is a perfectionist.

A Private Tasting at Santa Barbara Winery

A very popular event at Santa Barbara Winery.

To find out more about A Private Tasting

New Release Lafond 2009 SRH Pinot Noir

Rising in the middle of the western Santa Ynez Valley, the Santa Rita Hills are the distinguishing feature of our AVA, home of Lafond Vineyard and a wonderful area to grow Pinot Noir.

The long, very cool growing season of this area is exemplified by February bud break and September harvest, a long period for vine physiology that creates wines of intense concentration and balanced acidity.

Winemaker Bruce McGuire chooses very specific sites in the vineyard for each of his Pinot Noir selections. Several different Pinot Noir clones, some planted as early as 1983, add to the palate of flavor and texture from which to craft each Pinot Noir. In 2009, Bruce chose 8 clones from 17 vineyard lots (the majority from Lafond Vineyard and the nearby Arita Hills Vineyard) picked at ripeness over a four week period.

A pleasant growing season yielded an average sized crop. This wine benefits greatly from about an hour of decanting to allow the concentrated aromatic and flavor profiles to fully open up. The complexity of flavor found in Pinot Noir from Lafond Vineyard is a wonderful match with savory foods and a classic with grilled salmon or mushrooms.
Suggested Retail: 27.00
To Order: Lafond Winery

First Day of Harvest at Santa Barbara Winery

Yesterday harvest started at Lafond Winery, in The Santa Ynez Valley, and today at Santa Barbara Winery, in the heart of the city. Here is where we make all our white wines. The technique is different from red wine and the equipment is different. The whites are pressed before fermentation and the reds after.

The grapes are loaded, stem and all, into the press. A press that is much larger because we include the stems to form channels for the juice to find its way out. The juice is immediately refrigerated to allow all the solids to settle. After a few days the juice is racked and fermentation is begun. The juice is generally kept at 45F during fermentation.

Santa Barbara Winery has a large number of enclosed refrigerated tanks, for red wines you need open tanks to dissipate the heat generated during fermentation.

The images show the grapes being brought in, loaded to the conveyor (pumping would damage the skins and stems) and once the press is loaded begin the press cycle.
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First Day of the 2011 Harvest

We picked last night Wednesday the 14th. Picking began at 8:00pm, after dark. We pick at night for the coolness, we began this many years ago, an innovation at the time, and today many wineries follow this practice.

What is new this year is our crusher/stemmer which is extremely delicate, removes all non-grape material and in addition is faster and requires fewer hands to operate. We were also testing, last night, David Lafond’s ingenious new night lighting system which eliminates the gas generator and replaces it with the tractor’s own torque. This greatly reduces noise pollution and the smell of gasoline in the air.

Everything worked according to plan, the only disappointment is the size of the crop. The berries are extremely small and where on average we would expect close to 3 tons per acre, this first picking, our Martin Ray Clone, we picked a little over 1 ton per acre.
The quality is going to be very high only there wont be as much of it.
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Pinot Noir 9/10/11

We are still a few weeks away from harvest. This year the the crop is going to be a little light – the bunches are there but the grapes are small. The consolation is that flavors will be more concentrated.

The grapes are behind nets, which protects them from birds but not from wasps. Wasps cause damage but not on the same scale – plus there is no way to keep them out. In the image on the right you can see some of their handiwork – it is minor, affects symmetry, but not quality.
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Images Santa Barbara Winery Wine Club Pick-up Party – Saturday, September 10

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