Early morning pick of Zinfandel
Wine&Food Attendees November 2013
Dateline: November 6, 2013
Post Harvest Report
2013 will be remembered in time as an excellent vintage year which surprisingly followed an equally magnificent 2012 vintage. Normally one expects production to drop following a bumper year, however this was not the case as 2013 production was in general equal to 2012 in quantity although final numbers won’t be known until late January 2014. Quality also was on a par with 2012 with good flavors, clean ripe fruit and balanced sugar acid ratios. This was welcome times for all winegrowers as the prior vintages of 2010 & 2011 were difficult years. Although lower than average rainfall was recorded for 2013, the summer months were cooler than normal and with proper irrigation production did not decline. A light shower in the middle of harvest near the end of September helped freshen up the grapes without inviting mold or rot. We began our harvest on 8/21 picking Pinot Noir at our Russian River Terrace vineyard and concluded on 10/4 picking highly ripe Cabernet grapes at Dry Creek which were sold to a Napa Valley winery. Similar to last year all grapes for this large crop was sold, two new winery accounts were developed and pricing was good across the board so we are extremely pleased for a successful Vintage 2013 harvest.
At this date the vineyards are very dry as we have had no rain in October. Fall colors in the canopy abound as the lack of rain and frost has kept the leaves intact on the vines. We are continuing to lightly irrigate to keep the vines on hold until rains arrive. Rain is forecast for next week which will be a welcome relief as we badly need it to get cover crops growing and charge our reservoirs. Three yews have been bred and returned to the vineyards and we expect six new lambs come next January. To accommodate our increasing family of goats and sheep we will be adding additional fencing to the seasonal drainage that runs along the East Cabernet vineyard to provide feed for the animals after being removed from the vineyards once the vines start to push. The reduction in vegetation will benefit fire control and reduce a hosting environment for the Green Wing Sharpshooter that can transmit Pierces Disease virus to the vines. No new plantings are scheduled for 2014. Cover crops and composting in certain vineyard blocks have been planted to improve soil fertility and rejuvenate soils. Our new vineyard of French Pommard Pinot clones is growing well although the first picking won’t be realized until 2015.
Our Forchini estate wines were all finished, pressed and racked to barrels by 10/7 and I believe the new wines show great promise and will be very good. It has been a good year for us in major wine competitions as we have won 34 medals including 8 Gold and 14 Silver medals. The most prestigious awards have been Double Gold on our 09 Pinot, Best of Class for our 010 Cabernet, and 95 points Best of the Best in the North Coast Wine Challenge for our 010 BeauSierra. 2010 Zinfandel & Papa Nonno have sold out quickly. I was concerned on the acceptability of these wines due to the extensive heat damage done to the grape prior to harvest and the wine showing heavy fruit forward structure at 15.5% alc. with a tired finish. The 010 Zin however won 2 Gold medals so it shows subjectivity on wines can be varied. Our 2011 Zinfandel is delicious and reflects the bright fruity style of a well balanced Zin with lingering flavors and moderate alcohol at 14.6% which is in keeping with the style I like to produce. Our 2012 wines are developing nicely in the barrels and will have undergone 18-22 months aging in barrels before we start our bottling in 2014. The new lenticular filtration procedures placed in use this year worked very well and the manhole cleanouts on all the fermentor tanks were great improvement in production efficiency. Without any tracking data it appears our new signage on the road has increased tasting room traffic as overall wine sales are up slightly from last year at this time.
We had a huge turnout for the Wine Road’s Wine & Food Affair last weekend with attendance up over 60%. We entertained 1100 people over two days. Sales at these events are disappointing in spite of attractive additional special event discount pricing on many of our wines. My opinion is the greater majority of attendees at these events come to enjoy tasting premium wines and exceptional food pairings at a modest event price but return home to buy value wines. I do realize the national economy is a factor along with reduced employment for many that are struggling to make ends meet. We will be reevaluating our participation in some of these events next year as to their cost/benefit.
The Holiday Season is soon upon us and I wish all our customers will have a great celebration with family and friends during this time and to enjoy many fine meals paired with fine wines…..hopefully there will be some Forchini wines on your table. Salute!