Journey: Thoughts and Reflections along the path. 

Sheldon Haynie
April 23, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Hitting stride for the season

We've been documenting the fun of a startup business which depends on the whims of nature and customers. Jane and I are having fun while working our tails off, finding reserves we didn't think were still there in our late 50's. Its a process of effort, reward and realization.

The weekend of the 14th we bottled 340 cases of our wines; > 100 Colombard, ~60 Chardonnay, ~60 Pinot, 25 Mead, 16 Viognier, and 75 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot isn't quite ready to bottle and we're thinking about some blends and additional Meads. These should be ready to release in late May or early June, to augment our rapidly diminishing stock. It was a balancing act to make it through nearly a year based on our initial inventory, and to date, we've only run out of the Santa Cruz '07 Pinot, taking the last case for the library. 

Our '10 Pinot from Carneros will be even better, based on barrel sampling, so we're happy to get it out and share. The '10 Colombard and Chardonnay continue to sell well and we'll work a bit harder to place them locally when the '11's release as they are quite distinctive. Our '11 reds are aging and ready for racking soon, and we'll get a first look at the wines and how they are developing.

All of this and we're busy in the fields too. Its just the start of spraying season, and we're still mowing and tilling to keep weeds and cover crops down. At an 2 acres an hour, that's a lot of "tractor butt" for an old guy, but it's worth the aches to see the vines respond. Our tasting and baking associate Joan Funk is also interning on the tractor, and will be assuming some of the responsibilities midweek, to reduce the evening and weekend frenzy. 

Of course when it rains it pours; this few weeks we've had not one but two couples that want us to consult/help/install a vineyard for them. We're looking at the sites this week and will see what the possibilities are.

Sheldon Haynie
April 10, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Tasting Patio

Our local Concrete Artist, Patrick Meyer has once again worked his magic. Several days of preparation and a very busy Saturday pour with 8 finishers and the result is a new 65x25' patio for our tasting area. Equipped with a sitting bench along the North side, it provides us more privacy, a view of the vineyard and space for a real bar eventually to be covered for off season. 

Sheldon Haynie
April 9, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Seeing the end of the beginning

We've been farming pretty intensively during the hours available, primarily weekends, to get the 5 vineyards we manage ready for this season. Having the owners of the two bigger ones, and a winery neighbor compliment their appearance has been gratifying. We still have a lot to do, with trellis repairs, irrigation updates and some under wire weed spraying, but you can see the vines, and they're showing appropriate growth for this time of year and so far have had only two days of frost since bud break. 

I dropped soil samples at Crop Production Services, and picked up the fungicides, micronutrients and have rebuilt the sprayer, so we are ready to go into the summer phase of spraying for management and attending to the growth by irrigating, 

This past weekend another couple came by during tasting and asked for help on setting up a winery and vineyard, asking to hire us as consultants. We'll give them a complimentary start, and see where it goes, recent experience has shown that free advice is too often valued at it's cost.