Glorious Harvest

This has been a fabulous year to be a grape farmer in Sonoma Valley, CA.  We had enough rain in the winter and spring to saturate the soil and fill the aquifers, and then a warm

Bud break early Spring.

and pleasant summer without too many scorching hot days and the big finish with a dry and pleasant fall.  What California grape growing is all about, and why we make the best wine in the world.

Going off. Early summer.

Being a grape farmer is, for me, the largest part of being a winemaker.  My winemaking philosophy is pretty damn simple:  farm or procure the finest grapes you can, keep your wine “clean” by extensive sorting of MOG (matter other than grapes) from the tank before fermentation and then letting the land, climate and place (terrior) speak for itself by keeping as hands-off as possible.  And I think our wine speaks for itself rather well.

Big, gorgeous cluster. Late summer.

All grapes are in and wine is being made.

Harvest morning. October 24, 2012.

The weather has broken with cold and wet being pretty dominant this week, and although the sun is about to shine again, the vines are going dormant and we get to concentrate on finishing the wine, putting it to rest in lovely oak barrels and taking it a little slower on the farm.

Checking the goods. Team Vino rides again.

Life is good.

Back in the (wine) saddle

It is surreal that just three days ago I was on my little bike riding into San Francisco after crossing this beautiful country,

Los Chamizol Zinfandel

and today I’m at Los Chamizol Vineyards in Sonoma while my Zinfandel is being picked.  Back to being a winemaker in Sonoma – my favorite life.

This blog will now focus on harvest and all the goings on at Annadel as we prepare to pick our grapes, make wine and then put the finished products to sleep in lovely French oak barrels.

The beauty of this life is the changing of the seasons and how our work and our life is so different depending on the time of year.  It’s been a very busy summer with weddings and selling wine and preparing for the Cannonball, and of course the running of the Cannonball.  AND FINISHING THE CANNONBALL.

Now we move into fall and harvest, the culmination of a years work.  This is going to be a spectacular vintage, epic actually.  Our fruit is gorgeous, the weather is perfect for fall and finishing the grapes and everything feels right.  More updates to come.

Bocci court Merlot
Full bins