November 2013 Archives

There's been a slow transformation taking place behind the winery and my house these last couple of months. If you've driven over Lambert Bridge you might have even seen it. In a way it looks like a moonscape...or something otherworldly. Tall trees stick out of the earth with their roots reaching to the sky. Large pieces of equipment are scattered here and there. Boulders are bolted together in piles.

click photo to enlarge   click photo to enlarge

The Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Demonstration Restoration Project is a partnership between the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and landowners along the Dry Creek click photo to enlargedesigned to build a fish friendly habitat. It includes bank stabilization and erosion control along with the development of environmentally friendly spawning pools for endangered species such as Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon. So far, they've completed one mile--not a small feat when you consider 1000s of cubic yards of dirt were removed from a once abandoned channel. That's a lot of truckloads. Eventually, the county plans to complete a six mile corridor spanning the Dry Creek.  

This federally funded project is a perfect example of the government and the privateclick photo to enlarge sector working hand in hand for a positive outcome. The project commenced some years ago when the county first approached The Husband to flesh out their ideas which included access to our property. Many meetings and negotiations later, access was granted along with an overwhelming endorsement from dear old hubby. At first I was skeptical, but why not? What's good for the environment is surely good for us and there's no doubt this will have a positive impact over time.

As a child growing up on West Dry Creek Road, I remember the fears of flooding and erosion that we had about the Dry Creek. Bank reinforcement was illegal yet farmers who owned land along the creek often placed old car bodies, tires and other material along the edges to click photo to enlargeavoid erosion. It was not a pretty sight let me tell you!  

Today, we are fortunate that in addition to creating an environmentally friendly fish habitat, we also benefit from the anchored log jams and bank stabilization that will prevent our land from washing away.

The project came to fruition today with the release of 2000 juvenile salmon into the creek. What a sight to behold! By 2020 when the total project is complete, Dry Creek Valley may be known for its wine - and its fish.

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I'll remember this year's harvest in one word: fast.  After our first load of Chenin Blanc grapes arrived, so did every other varietal.  Seemingly in the blink of an eye we were discussing our last lot of Cabernet Sauvignon still hanging on the vine.  The initial report from our winemaking team is that quality will be high across all varietals.  Comparison wise, we had very similar growing Havesting the last of the grapes - click photo to enlargeconditions as last year.  The summer season was dry, with moderate temperatures and during harvest we had almost perfect weather for extended hang time. 

This past week, we had a unique opportunity to come together to harvest the very last of the fruit still hanging on the vine.  Each year we keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to produce a late harvest wine.  For the past several vintages, that has not been the case.  In 2013, however, Winemaker Tim was able to find a small block of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes in our DCV2 vineyard, just behind the winery and bordering Dry Creek.  Having "noble rot", the fancy viticulture term for Botrytis, these grapes achieved remarkable concentration and honeyed characters.  Attaining natural Botrytis is a tricky proposition.  Growing conditions have to be perfect with rain being an important factor at just the right time. In addition, extended hang time is key - the more hang time, the happier the grapes become!

In the early morning hours, our cellar crew headed click photo to enlargeto the vineyard for some "bonding time" to harvest these beautiful bunches.  Noble rot may not look sexy but the wine that is produced certainly is.  For those that have tried our Soleil Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend, I'm sure you'll agree that this sultry wine is intense and concentrated with wonderful honeysuckle and lavender nuances.  I absolutely adore this wine as a finishing course during Thanksgiving when I always make my signature Parmesan Apple Pie.

With harvest now in our rear view mirror, we're all looking forward to some much needed R&R and the warmth of the upcoming holiday season.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2013 is the previous archive.

December 2013 is the next archive.

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