Wine & Food

Snooth User: outthere

Friday night pizza was just a precursor to the main event

Posted by outthere, Jun 18, 2017.

Yesterday we braved 104° temperatures in the Sonoma Valley to tour the iconic Pagani Ranch in Kenwood followed by dinner and some amazing wines. More in my next post.


Reply by dmcker, Jun 18, 2017.

Just heard from my daughter who's in Madrid that it's 43º C (nearly 110º F) there. What's up with this June?

Reply by outthere, Jun 18, 2017.

It was the 7th Annual Historic Vineyard Society Tour and Dinner. In past years it has been touring 3-4 vineyards followed by a dinner featuring wines from said sites. The event is set up as a fund raiser for the Non-Profit HVS but the expense involved in shuttling attendees from venue to venue in air conditioned tour busses was cost prohibitive. This year they went more indepth into the farming, soils and other aspects of the business while keeping us in one place.


Mother Nature was having hot flashes yesterday and the mercury topped out at 104°. It was tough going standing out there in the heat but we did our best to stay hydrated and learn some interesting thingsc bout grape farming. We started out learning about the soil diversity on the ranch. Dino Amentite who runs the farming dug a couple 4' deep trenches between rows on different parts of the ranch. David Gates, viticulturalist for Ridge Vineyards, climbed in the holes with a screwdriver and poked into the soil at different depths showing us the top soil, clay, rock, gravel layers and how each effects how the vines grow.


Next Bob Biale of Robert Biale Vineyards gave us an in-depth look at how pruning and canopy management of these dry farmed head pruned vines is critical to having a successful crop. Selective leaf thinning to create airflow within the goblet of spurs on the vine keep mildew in check. The importance of which way the sun passes over the vines and how to leaf prune more on the sunrise side of the vine rather than the sunset side encourges proper ripening while protecting from sunburn was discussed. He also talked about how they manage clusters based on the vintage. Some years have large clusters wth wings where they will remove the wings in order to prevent mildew/bunchrot issues while in other years where the clusters are smaller they will not have wings. When and what fruit to drop and other aspects of the vine management were discussed at length while we baked in the afternoon sun.


Next we got a crash course in grape vine ampelography from Mike Officer of Carlisle Vineyards. Mike is a vine geek and loves talking about how he maps out old field blend vineyards and identifies all the dfferent varieties planted side by side. He showed us how to identify a vine by the shape of the leaf. How many lobes, how they are spaced, wheher they are shiny or matte, which way the leaf curls if at all and how some of these vines came to be planted in the mixture and/or where they originated. Always interesting listening to Mike geek out. His passion about the subject just oozes from his being.


After the tour we retired under the massive oak tree and enjoyed dozens and dozens of wines. I brought some bubbles for starters.


There were various white wines.


And scores of reds. Most from Pagani fruit.


We needed all the wine to wash down the excellent meal.


Oh look, it's the Godfather if Zinfandel, Joel Peterson. 


An OT sighting!



The scenery really sucked too.


Viticultural Royalty. From left to right. Ned of Seghesio, Bob Biale, John Olney Winemaker Ridge Lytton Springs, David Gates, Dino Amentite, Mike Officer, Joel Peterson, Tegan Passalacqua Turley/Sandlands, Morgan Twain-Peterson, Mike Dildine Historic Vineyard geek HVS Board, Emily Rasmussen event organizer.


Did I say we drank some wine? A few dead soldiers.

Just another typical Saturday in Sonoma County ;-)

Reply by outthere, Jun 18, 2017.

It's not going to let up soon either David. 8am and...


Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 18, 2017.

Wow, what an exciting wine event.  They would have to carry me away after that heat and all that wine.  Great documentation too.

Reply by EMark, Jun 18, 2017.

What an outstanding event--and an outstanding report.  Thank you.

Triple Fahrenheit digits down here, also.

Reply by outthere, Jun 18, 2017.

Yikes, dejavu all over again.

Reply by rckr1951, Jun 18, 2017.

Outstanding report.  Wonderful pics and the participants list was impressive.

By the way - it's 60 degrees and rainy here and it's not going to over 70 all week with rain for most of it. Guess I'll have to trim my wings and keep smelling for rot, er...looking for rot.

Reply by dmcker, Jun 19, 2017.

OK OT-Yogi. As usual, envy-inspiring event and reportage. What was with all those Ridge exotics from the '90s, I was wondering, until I saw the team lineup snap at bottom....

Weren't they selling old-vine wine packs for the charity last year?

Reply by outthere, Jun 19, 2017.

"Weren't they selling old-vine wine packs for the charity last year?"

Yes they were. I picked a 3-pack up for a fellow Snoother. This year is was 3-packs of 2014 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel. 5 barrels, 1ea from John, Mike, Bob, Tegan and Morgan all blended into the final wine.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 19, 2017.

OT, that sounds like an awesome event, thanks for sharing!  BTW, how many folks braved the heat?

Reply by outthere, Jun 19, 2017.

I'd say about 150 at the outset. About 1/3 of them dropped out of the tour along the way due to the heat and retired to the shade and cool drinks. Dava amongst them.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jun 19, 2017.

Sounds like a great fun event

Reminds me that we have to organise a Clare Valley weekend in August, whilst it will be winter I expect the temp to be in the 10-20C [50-68F] range which is really good for eating various cuts of meat and drinking red after a riesling warm up off course

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