Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bud Break

I came in to work this morning and noticed that most of the vines were sporting a bit of green! It looks like bud break is finally here. From what I understand, our bud break was a bit later then usual due to the big winter we had. Now that the leaves are starting to come out of the vines frost poses a big risk. Lets just hope that we don't get any late spring frosts!
 I'll be sure to take more pictures as the vineyard really starts to open up!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Showers

Since the weather is telling me that it might rain today I thought it would be a perfect time to let everyone know about our April Showers deal! Throughout the month of April we will be selling glasses of wine for $1 off the regular price when it is raining! When it rains... we pour!
 Also, just a heads up for some upcoming events! This weekend is a wine club pick up weekend and we are starting our first ever pick up party! We are going to hold a little party on the first Saturday wine club shipments are ready to be picked up. So this Saturday the 17th we will have live music and light snacks for our club members to enjoy from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. We are also pre-releasing the Cabernet Franc Reserve to the wine club! I am really excited to have this wine in the tasting room. It is a nice big wine, something to decant if you can. Also, it is one of the few wines from 2007 we have been holding on to. So come in this weekend to taste it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Here Comes the Sun!

It looks as though Spring has officially come to Virginia! I don't know how or when it happened, but it seemed almost overnight. I was driving home from work yesterday and I noticed tons of daffodils in bloom, a cherry tree starting to blossom, and the grass is looking greener!
I cannot believe how pretty it is around here! Now I am just waiting for the vines to start flowering. I'll be sure to get some pictures when that happens! I think it will be a little later in the season then normal because of our strange winter.

Throughout this week we are preparing for bottling. We will be filtering and fining the wines to get them in tip top shape before bottling next Monday and Tuesday. Our bottling schedule includes the 2009 Viognier and the 2008 Trevillian and labeling the 2007 Heritage. This is the Heritage that just went platinum at the San Diego International Competition. I think Stephen wants to hold onto it for a while longer and maybe release it in the fall. I'm crossing my fingers for that. However, if you are a wonderful wine club member who purchased futures of the 2007 Heritage at the wine club appreciate party or at the wine makers dinner we will have those for pick up after April 1st.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pruning the Vines

So I've been getting a lot of questions about the abundance of snow we had this year and if it has affected the vines. So I thought I would address the issue of pruning. After the first hard freeze of the year the vines go into a state of hibernation and during that hibernation the boys are hard at work maintaining the vines. During the winter the vines are pruned or trimmed back.
Here are the vines in their wild state. It takes almost all winter to prune all 43 of our acres, but the quality of fruit that is produced from all that hard work is well worth it. Pruning has been described as an art form by many in the wine community since this is the basis for the rest of the growing season. Pruning too much can affect vines just as much as pruning too little.
After all that hard work (and might I say chilly work due to all the snow this year) the vines are trimmed beautifully! Now that all of the snow has melted the pruning is going much faster. So in conclusion, the snow is fine for the vines, in fact it is a good way to keep the plants in hibernation so they don't start budding too early in the season!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quick Note

This might be the shortest blog I ever write, but I wanted to let everyone know that I am heading down to Richmond for the Virginia Wine Expo this weekend! So if you are in the area, make sure to stop by and say hello! This will be my first trade show/festival and I am quite excited for it!

Also, in terms of our barrel tasting that is coming up on March 13th and 14th the afternoon session on Saturday is officially full and the Sunday session only has 5 spots left! Make sure to rsvp soon to insure your spot... I am very excited about the tasting and to see what 2009 grapes have in store for us. If you would like to rsvp please email or call 434-244-3341. Since I will be at the Expo all weekend you can talk to Kris about the event as well!

...And now I'm off to Richmond! 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2009 Viognier

Stephen brought me a sample of the 2009 Viognier this morning and he gave me a little preview of what was to come when we bottle next. We plan on bottling again at the end of March and one of the wines that will be bottled is the 2009 Viognier. Viognier itself is a very versatile grape with a high alcohol content and high acid content. Stephen is planning on blending together the 2009 Viognier this afternoon after doing a bit of work to perfect the wine. Typically our Viognier is 100% oak aged and our Les Vents d'Anges Viognier is 100% stainless steel aged, but this year we are doing things a bit differently.

The Viognier Stephen brought me was actually 30% oak aged and 70% stainless steel aged. The first thing I noticed was the color of the wine. Stainless steel wines typically are much lighter in color and this wine seemed to fit that bill. Lets have a look, shall we?
The glass on the left is currently in the tasting room, the 2008 Viognier Reserve. The glass on the right is the 2009 Viognier. The 2008 Viognier Reserve is much more rich in color as well as aroma. This is not to say that the 2009 Viognier is lacking, it is currently a very focused wine with a nice interplay between steel and oak. I feel like oak really rounds out the mouth feel of any wine and the influence of the stainless steel keeps this wine feeling very fresh.

After Stephen adds the tank wine and the 5 barrels of wine to a stainless steel tank the perfecting will begin. Stephen is planning on doing some minor tweaks and fining to the 2009 Viognier, and I'll keep you abreast on what he ends up doing with the wine. Then the wine will continue to age on fine lees until we filter the wine right before bottling.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Candy Hearts and Fermentation

So our Valentine's Day event "Be Mine with Wine" went over quite well this year! Thanks to everyone who came to the event, it was great to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. We also did a "guess the number of candy hearts in a Rose bottle" contest this year and let me tell you it was rather close! Our winning guess was only 6 candy hearts off and the person in second was only 8 off! We even got the traditional "Price is Right" guess of 2, just in case everyone else over bid, well played! Let me be the first to say congratulations to Veronica Buckovich, she has a free tasting and tour for her guess of 483 candy hearts.

In other news, the Nektar is looking great! Stephen did a test on it today and said that the sugar levels are dropping at around a brix a day. So by his estimations the fermentation will be complete in 10 to 14 days. Once the fermentation is finished the wine will be sulfured and put into barrels. The sulfur is added to kill off any remaining yeast so we can keep the same levels of residual sugar in the wine. The goal is to make this wine about 10% residual sugar. I was lucky enough to taste the Nektar and my first impression was that it currently tastes a lot like pineapple juice! It is still quite sweet, but I was surprised at how tart it was. I guess that bit of acidity is a nice balance to the sugar in the wine. The wine currently is opaque since the yeast is still floating around in the wine.