The Birth of a New Vineyard

Spring is in the air, and it has never felt better. Having just returned from Southern California where the air is generally a dull beige color no matter what time of day, I am especially grateful to see bright blue skies and feel our warm sunny sunshine.

Springtime also means it's planting season. This is particulClick to enlarge photo!arly exciting as we've finally begun the replanting process of the vineyard directly in front of the winery. Years ago, (I'm talking 1974) this small parcel at the corner of Dry Creek Rd. and Lambert Bridge Rd., was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon using homemade bench grafts that my father and his buddy Tom Dehlinger (of Dehlinger Winery) made. It was later T-budded to Chardonnay during the planting boom of the 1980s. When we finally realized that our Chardonnay grapes would be better suited to the cooler Russian River Valley area, we tore out those Chardonnay vines and let the earth remain fallow to naturally regenerate the soil for future planting- an important step in the practice of sustainable farming. Five years have passed and we are now in the early stages of developing one of our most exciting vineyards yet!

As avid Zinfandel lovers, we're creating an experimental Zinfandel block using 4 different clonal selections. This vineyard will be head pruned with no trellis system, much like the historic Zinfandel vines planted in the days of horse and plow.  Just recently, we completed the important first step of planting the rootstock, which in this case is St. George-a phylloxera resistant rootstock that has been used since the late 1800s. It doesn't look like much, just small lumps rising up from the ground. As soon as the roots take hold, (probably late summer or early fall) we'll then go through the arduous process of grafting in budwood from the four different clonal selections. This will essentially complete the planting process. Then it's a matter of patiently waiting the 3-4 years for our first crop.

Eventually our hope is to be able to make several different wines from this experimental vineyard. We have no idea what to expect, but who knows, one of them could be the next great cult wine of Dry Creek Valley!

| | Comments (4)


JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
April 19, 2009 10:52 AM

Your news is wonderful, from my vantage, Wilma. I imagine you know of the DNA work with zinfandel professor emeritus Carole Meredith from UC Davis accomplished with respect to zinfandel clone origins history. That is her website, the published papers are elsewhere, however.

The soils and climate in DryCreek produce some interesting zin. Maybe someday I will enjoy the results from the new planting.

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
April 20, 2009 9:57 PM

We are well aware of Professor Meredith's important research although I didn't know she had her own vineyard now. I loved reading about her small winery but found it interesting that she isn't growing Zinfandel. Thanks, as always for sharing this info John.

And, I hope you'll have a chance to taste the results of our newest planting...we should have something from the 2013 harvest!

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
April 21, 2009 4:38 PM

Allowing 2+ years from premier cru to tasting room first sale for that new zin would make 35 years since I last visited. I recognized the photo, though, as DCV's locale.

Carole also did DNA typing for cab. I have yet to research my notes of her materials. I thought likely the syrah was an early choice, perhaps before the trips to Croatia yet maybe incorporating interest in syrah as both seem well adapted to Napa, though for her purposes ultimately reflecting principally varietal selection there based upon climatology and terroir of the Mt Veeder site of the LagnierM premises.

Dry Creek, and our as yet unnamed subAVA OatValleycreek likely are some of the prime zin zones, and Napa will regard us with admiration beginning in 2013. See you then, for sure.

LisaBForbes Author Profile Page said:
April 23, 2009 9:32 AM

We winemaker types are really excited about the new Zinfandel vineyard in our front yard. Zin is arguably one of the most difficult and rewarding varieties to make. A vineyard that is both new and a throwback to the old style (of head-trained vines) is something I'm looking forward to working with. Unfortunately we have to wait -- winemaking and grapegrowing are not for the impatient! This vineyard dovetails nicely with our Heritage Zin vineyard right next door and will give us 4 selections to make fabulous wine from. Hopefully Kim will be able to track the vineyard's progress on this blog for everyone to see. In the meantime, pop open a bottle of Heritage Zin and fire up the BBQ!

Lisa Bishop Forbes, winemaker, Dry Creek Vineyard

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kim published on April 17, 2009 2:15 PM.

Sales Trip: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was the previous entry in this blog.

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