Sheldon Haynie
February 2, 2014 | Vineyards, Wines | Sheldon Haynie

Celebrating the season

Its been a while, since the last blog entry, we've taken a wee bit of a respite from farming too as is typical this time of year, and focused on family and winemaking. Our 2013 harvest was big, beautiful and we've barreled it down to age.  Winemaking has focused on malolactic fermentation before the turn of the year, while bottling of more meads, a reserve barrel of our Merlot Zinfandel "Eroika", and Rosè of Zinfandel "Serendipity" rounded out January. We hope to release the Serendipity in February as it comes out of bottle shock. 

We finished up after harvest with vineyard ripping, tilling and seeding a cover crop and then have been doing weed management under the wire while the vines are dormant. Our field crew is out doing pre-pruning, the last weeks and the much needed rain has delayed the start of final pruning, to avoid Eutypa problems. We try to prune starting in February on the hillside at Soli Deo Gloria in West Gilroy and then work through the Chirala & Behlmer Vineyards and finish up on the flat at Coop, Estate and Athena's Vineyard to minimize frost risks. We hope to have budbreak and shoot growth after the last hard frost of the season. With this years drought, its especially concerning as we want to get the vines growing while we have cooler weather and need to balance risks.  

Today's rain, a steady soaking at 0.07 in/hr on the estate weather station will go a long way to moving the cover crop along and keeping the vines healthy. We will need to irrigate earlier if we don't get our normal 10 inches of rain by April 1st, and there is concern that the reservoirs are low and that wells may go dry. Each vineyard has a well to support it, but they all pull from the local acquifer, and if it runs too low we will have to adjust. 

On a cheerier note, we were gratified to win a silver medal for our "Lioness" blend at the SF Chronicle Competition, and to have our 2012 Cabernets from both Soli Deo Gloria and Athena's vineyards score high marks at the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley panel blind tasting. The new wines are well received by those who taste them and we're happy to bring them out. At the Barrel tasting yesterday we had several cases of futures sold, and over a hundred people come through the winery. 




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