Wine Talk

Snooth User: outthere

2013 Growing Season

Posted by outthere, May 3, 2013.

Fox asked me the other day if I was going to start a thread on this years growing season. I've been real busy with other things and haven't had much time to focus on the specifics of the 2013 season. But, things are getting off to an early start due to unusually warm Spring weather and a mild Winter where the Sierra snowpack is only 17% of normal for this time of year. Seems like vines just started leafing a few weeks ago and we now have berries forming and getting ready for bloom as seen in this photo from Williams-Selyem.

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Replies

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Reply by Richard Foxall, May 3, 2013.

Those are really small berries--I can't see them!

Thanks for starting the thread.  I'll be heading up that way in a few weeks and will add some pics as well.

It's too hot and too dry too early.  Supposed to cool down this weekend, but conditions are not good for those who would like to see a return to restraint in the cabs, etc--this means a rapid rise in sugar ripeness without enough time to ripen phenolic compounds in the seeds and (for those fermenting with stems) other parts.

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Reply by outthere, May 3, 2013.

Open your eyes man!

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Reply by JonDerry, May 3, 2013.

Thought it was time as well, my prediction: '13 will be a hot year, in which I'll buy no cabs!

Afterall, we're due.

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Reply by penguinoid, May 4, 2013.

Cave de Tain put some photos of the first berries of 2013 on vines on the hill of Hermitage up recently. Already starting!

Back in South Australia, the 2013 vintage is already over ...

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Reply by edwilley3, May 4, 2013.

Restraint? What's that?

The amazing thing is that Texas has had a very cool spring following a colder than normal winter. We had temps below 40 the other day. Apparently we have stolen California's weather!  Don't blame me....although don't look for me to complain. :)

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Reply by Richard Foxall, May 4, 2013.

Weird, must have been something wrong with my browser. Or maybe I was expecting them to be sideways--I was wearing polarized sunglasses this week.

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Reply by JonDerry, May 5, 2013.

I see its cooling down a bit next week, excellent news!

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Reply by outthere, May 5, 2013.

It's raining today, OK sprinkling. Was 90 yesterday!

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Reply by outthere, May 6, 2013.

We have bloom! Here is some Mataro (Mourvedre) from Evangelho Vineyard in Contra Costa. Let's hope the rain forecast for the next two days does not materialize.

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Reply by JonDerry, May 7, 2013.

How much of a hit to have rain during flowering? I remember Carole saying it's not such a welcomed thing.

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Reply by outthere, May 7, 2013.

It can really screw things up and one ends up with clusters of chicks and hens. The rain never really materialized so we are I the clear now moving forward.

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Reply by Budha, May 9, 2013.

Nice to see pictures of the bloom and berries that were posted. Thanks. My profile picture was taken yesterday and is of Concord type grapes which turn into some very good grape jelly/jam.  If the pests can be kept from getting most of them. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, May 9, 2013.

Weather has really moderated in the nick of time.  Mid-Bay got about 5-10 minutes of sprinkles over the weekend, and it's been kind of cool and windy since, but warming up gradually. 

JD, rain is nothing but trouble when it's flowering because it washes off the pollen.  (Good for allergies, but that's all.)  Also, the little pollinators like bees, moths, ladybugs, hummingbirds, anything that sticks its nose in there, typically stay out of the rain.  A little wind can help to spread the pollen, but too much wind and the pollen blows off completely--the goal is for the pollen to get to the next plant, not on the orchard next door.  Coastal  Northern California is really fortunate that it gets nearly all its rain in a short season, then has cool summers (comparatively) with no rain and just the right level of humidity most of the time.  Which is to say, we get fog so everything doesn't get dessicated, but we don't have muggy air that could promote molds and rot. 

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Reply by JonDerry, May 9, 2013.

Thanks for the illustration...and good to hear about the weather reprieve. Was getting a little concerned there, but am still not expectating back to back greatness for CA in '12 & '13. Would love to be wrong though.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, May 9, 2013.

I haven't barrel tasted '12s and the reds obviously aren't out yet, so I will hope that it's a great vintage.  Sometimes those things don't work out--numbers only tell part of the story.  I've been less than impressed with 2007, which were supposed to be all that.  2010 has been getting lots of good press, but that looked like a really iffy year with the heat spikes. 

That heat spike shouldn't make a huge difference because it's so early. It was freakish, and I can't really remember anything quite like it, so maybe there is stuff going on that I don't know about, but as long as it didn't hurt the initial flowering and pollination, the rest of the season (long slow ripening, enough heat at the end for the sugars to come up if they are low) is more important.  Someone said the early season weather from bud break to flowering defined the quantity, everything after that the quality. 

I'm leaving in less than 1/2 hour to drive up to Sonoma for dinner with Emark and OT.  Got a bottle of 2004 Colombier Hermitage in a chill jacket waiting to go.  Get to drive through Carneros and Sonoma proper, then partway up the Valley of the Moon.  If I'm running early, I might even take a side drive... but no tasting, we have off the charts wines already.

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Reply by EMark, May 11, 2013.

OK, here is my first contribution to one of the "Growing Season" conversations.  After reading this, you will appreciate OT's photography and expert commentary.

First, unidentified vines growing at Sears Point--presumably a test to determine the effects of exhausts from and vibrations caused by internal combustion engines.  It took me a while to find a pic that seems to have berries.  I actually did not see them from where I was standing.

I really don't remember the dirt being gray, but maybe it was.  Can we call it volcanic?  More likely, fallout from combusted hydrocarbons.

 

Second batch are from the Yverdon vineyard on Spring Mountain.

Merlot:

 

It looks like the dirt is more brown, here.

 

Whizzing past some Syrah in a Polaris Ranger:

 

Still on the Polaris Ranger.  These are Cabernet Franc.  Our guide had to think about these for a second.  I told her she could come up with anything that came to her mind, and I could not dispute her:

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, May 11, 2013.

Nice start on those, Emark.  Yverdon was a classic vineyard back in the day, went through some changes.  Back when there were only two Trader Joe's and they carried close-out wines, my folks bought some Yverdon Cab.  I always thought the name was coolly Gallic.  No longer a label, now owned by Terra Valentine, where you toured.  But K&L still has a link for the old wine.

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Reply by outthere, May 13, 2013.

Toured 4 Historic Old Vineyards on Saturday. 3 in the Alexander Valley and 1 in Dry Creek.

We started at Whitton Ranch which is owned by the Trentadue family and leased/farmed by Ridge Vineyards. This site it the source of their iconic Geyserville bottlings. Planted in the early 1880's Zin, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Mataro, Syrah, Grenache, Palomino and many others.

Next was 101 Vineyard owned by Turley. It's a small 2 acre parcel stuck between the Northern Pacific railroad tracks and US 101 Hwy. Larry Turley bought it when he saw it listed in the classified ads of the local newspaper as "small old vineyard for sale" back in 1995. It produces only 1300 bottles of old vine Zinfandel annually and the remainder is from newer vines that go into their Juvenile Zin blend.

After that is was on to Chianti Station Vineyard which was originally part of Italian Swiss Colony and is now owned by Seghesio and has been since 1910. These 103 year old Sangiovese vines produce tiny berries which range in size, by clone, from a BB to a Pencil Eraser. The fruit is used in the Seghesio Sangiovese and the vines provide bud wood for all their subsequent plantings. It is the oldest Sangiovese vineyard in the US.

Last but not least we traveled over the hill into Dry Creek Valley to visit Doug Nalle and his 86 year old dry framed Henderlong Ranch.  Old Vine fruit is used in the Henderlong Nalle Zinfandel which sells out each year. Doug saved a case for the dinner we had following the tours. Great low alcohol, 13.9%, Ziinfandel.

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Reply by EMark, May 13, 2013.

Outstanding report, OT.  Mrs. EMark is going to love those pictures of the old vines for her drawing and painting exercises.

I also appreciate your explanation of the heritage and the pedigree of these vineyards.  Thank you very much.

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Reply by JonDerry, May 13, 2013.

Very nice OT, living the life. 

How was that '11 Geyserville showing??

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