Today we processed Sangiovese from the Stolpman Vineyard. Sangiovese has a thicker skin than Pinot Noir and in the de-stemming the grapes are not crushed – they come out and stack like marbles. Some will be broken during fermentation, releasing juice, but many will not and the fermentation will occur within the grape.
The wine will not be pressed when fermentation is completed, but will be held for several weeks, juice and skins in contact, until the winemaker determines that the balance he is looking for is reached. The resulting wine is very complex and requires more time in barrel and bottle before release. We are just releasing the 2010 vintage under the Santa Barbara Winery label.
Lafond Winery Open House
Saturday and Sunday Oct. 12-13
Enjoy Mirella’s Famous Tacos, a great selection of Cheese and Bread as well as our usual spreads, Brownies and freshly picked Strawberries.
The Vintners’ Harvest Celebration main event is Sat. Oct. 12 from 1-4 at Rancho Sisquoc. Early Bird on-line is 75.00, at the door 85.00.
The Lafond Winery Open House is free for all Wine Club Members and 15.00 for all others.
October Wine Club will be shipped October 1 and Wine pick-up wil be available at the Open House.
Come Join us!
This harvester which uses the same gentle crusher/stemmer we us in our production is technically advanced and made in France. We contracted for 2 nights picking to evaluate whether it was suitable for us. Unfortunately it broke down the first night. The machine, I might add, is a 1/2 million investment.
What we did find, although it required a lot fewer people, it did not pick faster than our hand-picking crews. Harvest machines are essential in large vineyards, there simply are not enough pickers, but for smaller wineries the benefit of passing in front of human eyes, on conveyor belts, before reaching the fermenter is a big plus.
All boxes have to be weighed, in this case 2 boxes at one time. This is net weight of 2240 lbs. – just a little over one ton. Boxes of Pinot Noir weigh a little heavier than many other varieties – the grapes are very small and they pack closer together.
Click on image to enlarge:
Each year we add new barrels. We use some barrels up to ten years but after a few years, although they continue to do the job of ageing wine well, they no longer contribute the subtle wood flavors that add to the complexity of the wine.
Innerstave, a company that specializes in this, added just that- inner staves, oak wood staves from aged French Burgundy oak. These are charred, as the barrels themselves are and come from light to strong.
They work extremely quickly and I am lucky as I was there when they arrived. There is an image of the new staves inside the barrel and of old staves that have been removed. These are covered with wine tartrates which accumulate on the sides of the barrels and on the staves as well.
Most of the fruit comes from our Burning Creek vineyard. The remainder from our Lafond Vineyard and Arita Hills Vineyard. All three vineyards are located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, an appellation known internationally for exceptional Pinot Noir
The Santa Rita Hills valley runs east-west leading to the Pacific Ocean. In early afternoon, cool breezes blow up the valley followed by evening fog which lingers until mid-morning.
This creates the southernmost Region 1 climate zone in the northern hemisphere, which has one of the longest growing seasons in the world, conditions that are ideal for producing quality, fruit-driven Pinot Noir.
Exhibiting flavors and aromas of black cherry, strawberry, violets and black tea, this wine is the perfect red for light lunches on the patio, lazy afternoons picnicking in the shade or an evening of hors d’oeuvres and aperitiffs at the bistro.
Winemaker’s comments: Burning Creek is our new vineyard producing its first full crop. The wine is fruit forward and very accessible. A mix of 7 clones adds to its complexity.
To order: www.sbwinery.com
Click image to enlarge:
Still working but too wide to go down our 6 foot rows. We use it to pull our 1000 gal. water tank fed by the water we use to clean equipment during harvest and later spread in the vineyard.
We were surprised that one of our Pinot blocks showed a sampling of 22 brix which is getting up there and we had better get ready. And so today we began gathering our boxes to be cleaned at our cleaning station. We were convinced that because of the low vigor of the vines and the cool summer, at least until now, that harvest would be late. Nature has its own agenda.
We are dropping an enormous amount of fruit in order to balance the vine. Ideally we hope for 3 tons per acre.
One image shows the Pinot Noir behind the nets and the other the amount of fruit we are leaving on the ground.
The grapes are tasting wonderful and if this moderate August weather continues the harvest should begin in early September.
The fog rolls in on schedule in late afternoon and dissipates in early morning – ideal weather for Pinot Noir. Click images to enlarge:
Winemaker Bruce McGuire taking a small group of Wine Club Members into the Pinot Noir. After a brief description of the art of growing Pinot he fielded, what he later commented, were some unusually good questions. It was a good day for the Annual BBQ even though the wind came up early but the temperature was just right.
The grapes are taking on color. Some blocks are more advanced but this image is about average. This will be an early harvest. With veraison come the birds and we are now installing nets. This makes it a little more complicated as we are still dropping fruit.
Click image to enlarge.