Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer School Was Never This Cool

On July 28 the Society of Wine Educators held events at various Napa Valley venues, including a panel on "Leaders in Cabernet" hosted at Staglin Family Vineyard.

Forty-two participants joined Shari Staglin, Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards, Jeff McBride of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, and Jan Krupp of Krupp Brothers Estate for a lively one hour discussion. Both the participants and the vintners learned a lot from the exchange.

Photo credit: Garen Staglin, Staglin Family Vineyard

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bloggers Get The 411 On Napa Valley

Assistant Director of Vineyard Operations, Geoff Gatto, explains St. Supery's sustainable farming practices to guests of the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference on Saturday, July 25th.

"The quality of our wine starts in our vineyard and that is why we farm sustainably. Being green isn't just a fad, it's a way of life for us," says Tina Cao, PR/Marketing Manager. St. Supery is one of 38 wineries enrolled in Napa Green, an industry-leading sustainability certification program.

Asked why St. Supery chose to host a vineyard visit by bloggers during the 3-day conference, Cao's response echoed the sentiments of the other 85 vintners throughout the valley who also hosted, presented or poured for the bloggers: "We realize that consumers are getting information from their peers. Information isn't one-sided, it's viral and everyone's opinion is valuable to someone."

The day began with keynote addresses at The Culinary Institute of America-Greystone, after which 8 shuttle buses branched out to distribute the 250 bloggers on unique experiences across the valley. Over the course of the day, 25 wineries throughout Napa Valley hosted 20-30 guests each for a series of picnic lunches, vineyard tours, discussion/tasting panels, and dinners. One winery, Quintessa, hosted all 250 bloggers for a Grand Tasting of top wines from 50 Napa Valley wineries.

And what did the bloggers think of the day? Feedback has been mostly positive. Jim Preston of the blog WineQuesters left an enthusiastic yet not uncommon response on our NVV Facebook Fan Page: "NVV did an AMAZING job of hosting us bloggers last Saturday! I'm suffering psychological problems from having to spit and dump so many outstanding Cabs. Fantastic adventure, fantastic wines, fantastic people, and worse yet, fantastically exhausting."

To view more event photos or submit your own, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Purple Pushes North

Jon Ruel at Trefethen Family Vineyards in Oak Knoll District sent this report today: "For the early varieties, it's always a race between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This year, just as other areas are reporting, we're seeing Pinot a bit ahead of the Chardonnay. This block of clone 115 Pinot is about 40% colored up. We're skipping irrigation this week as the weather is mild and a little stress might help speed the ripening."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Season's Greetings: Veraison '09

Sign of the Times: Pinot Noir clusters in Carneros have begun coloring (called veraison), a significant milestone in the winegrape growing season. Three grower-vintners weigh in with progress reports....

All photographs and quotes taken Tuesday, July 21st, 2009.

Amelia Ceja provided the photo above. "Our Pinot Noir vineyard on Las Amigas Road has pinkish and red clusters already. It’s exciting!" Photo courtesy of Ceja Vineyards

Remi Cohen reports, "the Pinot Noir at our Stanly Ranch Estate is at about 30% veraison. Photo courtesy of Merryvale Vineyards

These Pinot Noir clusters from Foster Road Ranch - located just north of the Stanly Lane pumpkin patch - are farther along than most. Toby Halkovich explains, "Foster Road Ranch is on a hill which may account for this site being ahead of the other Pinot Noir vineyards in Carneros from which we buy." Photo courtesy Cakebread Cellars

Q: How does this compare to other years?
A: "The time between bloom and veraison is about 7-14 days shorter than previous years for our Carneros Pinot Noir and upvalley Sauvignon Blanc," says Halkovich.

What about other varieties?
A: "The Chardonnay in Carneros is going slowly and veraison has not really started. We see Merlot and a few Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards upvalley just beginning to color (berry here and there) but no real trend yet for those varieties," according to Halkovich. Cohen concurs, "Although we have seen veraison in some of our Bordeaux varieties, it is still a small percentage of berries. But this is the first hurdle....harvest is coming!"

You can read Napa Valley's 2008 Harvest Report by clicking here...or read short season summaries going back to 1990 by clicking here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Welcome to Our New Home!

Literally: groundbreaking on a permanent home in St Helena began on March 19, 2009. By the end of 2009 the historic Jackse (jack-see) Winery will be transformed into the NVV's office, complete with conference rooms and a working vineyard. Read more

Figuratively: in our 65th year of service to the Napa Valley appellation we're starting a blog! This space will evolve over time but the mission remains constant: to promote and protect this special land we call home. Read more