Vintage Notes - 2009 Napa Valley, California

Trickling In

Posted on October 4, 2010

The sparkling wines have now all been racked off gross lees and packed away, just in time for the still wines to begin trickling in. Thursday saw approximately 3,000 gallons (11,350 liters) of Chardonnay juice arrive via tanker from two of our vineyards in Carneros. These lots have been inoculated and put to barrel for fermentation. Thursday also saw a client's four tons of Pinot Noir arrive from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino, who brought in a few more tons on Friday and Saturday as well. Another client delivered the first half of 10,000 gallons of Sauvignon Blanc on Friday which was kept well cooled over the weekend for inoculation yesterday once the remaining portion had arrived. Warm weather all last week has helped push ripening along, and we're expecting to see lots of grapes over the next couple weeks.

All Sparkles

Posted on September 20, 2010

Well, my second vintage of 2010 has started off quite late and slowly, but it's soon to get busy. So far, we've only harvested a total of 70 tons split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay destined for sparkling wine. Last week saw the Chardonnay arrive, two weeks after we received our first ten tons of Pinot Noir. With a handful of tanks full and fermenting, it's beginning to feel like harvest though this week should see our first big influx of grapes. Still, cool weather is not allowing fruit to ripen as usual, and is beginning to make winemakers throughout the valley wonder whether poor weather will arrive before fruit is harvested.

Roughin It

Posted on August 10, 2010

I guess roughing it would be a bit of an overstatement. Nonetheless, living in a tent hasn't provided time for posting here. I have done some exploring around the area; Napa is a gorgeous place. My first week at my new job was rather regular: basic training and harvest preparation. Despite some negatives, I've been rather enjoying camping at night; Napa Valley's atypically mild this season keeps night temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and days usually maxing out in the low-80's. The weather has greatly affected the growing season; wine grape harvest has been pushed back several weeks (some sparkling wine producers would already be harvesting by now).

After working all week, I headed down to San Francisco for another weekend with Hayes and the Barret twins (I stopped through on the way up from San Diego last weekend, too).  I had a quick surf in small onshore conditions at Ocean Beach on Saturday; while it was far from a great session, it was nice just to get wet. Life of an inlander has been hard to accept.

Finding a New Home

Posted on July 15, 2010

With California's 2010 vintage just around the corner, I decided to take a road trip north to look at some wineries and visit some friends. I returned to San Diego on Monday with the realization that I may not be surfing much over the next several months. The reason behind this? I'm moving to Napa in just over two weeks to take an assistant winemaking position at a lovely winery in Calistoga.

While I'm not looking forward to living over an hour from the coast, I am looking forward to the opportunity to work at such a great winery. I guess Napa Valley is on most vintage winemaker's California checklist, too. Plus, the Napa area has plenty of fun outdoor activities to keep me entertained, from fishing to mountain biking. Now, all I need to worry about is finding a place to live. Any suggestions?

Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton
Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton