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From The Vine

Late Fall 2018

Harvest 2018 Wrap Up

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes - Rutherford Estat

Around mid-summer we saw the first sign that harvest season was near: veraison! Veraison is when the red grape varietals start to change color from green to purple. We started seeing veraison in our vineyards towards the end of July. 

Veraison of Pinot Noir grapes - Anderson Valley Estate


Night harvest of Sauvignon Blanc in early September - Rutherford Estate

Harvest began at our Rutherford Estate with a late night pick of Sauvignon Blanc on August 26th. We pick Sauvignon Blanc at night because the cooler temperatures keep the grapes firmer and more stable, which is optimal for processing and fermentation. Our Sauvignon Blanc vineyards were picked over period of about one month. 
Our team was on the move with a lot of ground to cover as our Anderson Valley Estate harvest of Chardonnay started on September 6th.  

Anderson Valley Estate Winemaker, Stephane Vivier checks the quality of the Chardonnay grapes in the harvest bin after they have been picked .  

Stephane does a daily tank walk to quality check each tank of Rosé of Pinot Noir as it ferments.

Next up: all of our Napa Valley reds! 

Early morning Merlot harvest - Rutherford Estate

Peter’s Vineyard Sangiovese with leaves removed for an easy pick of the fruit zone.

In early October, it was time to harvest our Merlot and Sangiovese. We have Merlot planted at both our estates, and the Sangiovese is all in Peter's Vineyard, located on our Mayacamas Estate, at 1000ft.
Prior to harvesting the grapes, our crew goes through the vineyard and removes all leaves in the fruit zone. They do this so that no leaves mix with the fruit in the large bins, allowing for a cleaner pick of the fruit.
Cabernet Sauvignon is always last to be harvested, as this grape varietal takes the longest to ripen. We harvested our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards up until the 1st of November, with the Cabernet Sauvignon at our Rutherford Estate being the final pick. 

Arturo, crew lead, keeping bins clear of leaves during a morning pick of Cabernet Sauvignon - Mayacamas Estate  

Cabernet Sauvignon, Mayacamas Estate

Cellar Master, Isaac loading grapes into the crusher/destemmer. 

Crushpad - Mayacamas Estate Winery

Winemaker, Justin Carr, and intern, Ben Buckingham, on the crushpad, crushing Sangiovese, harvested from the Mayacamas Estate vineyard. Grape clusters are loaded into the crusher destemmer, to separate the grapes from their stems. 


Post destemming, the berries and juice are headed into fermentation bins. 

Small batch fermentation begins. 

November 1st, the last day of harvest.


Our 2018 Harvest Crew

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Autumn 2017

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FROM THE FARM

AUGUST 2017

Napa Valley starts to get very busy in August as grape harvest sneaks up on us and is in full swing by September. But, before we tackle grape harvest, we are fortunate to experience a fruitful tomato season!

This year we planted 14 tomato varietals, both heirlooms and hybrids, and they are all finally ripening with the heat we’ve had in Napa Valley the last few weeks. 

Here’s a little plant 101, in case you need some brushing up…

Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated, unlike hybrids, and are often passed down from generation to generation. When the plants of an open-pollinated variety self-pollinate or are pollinated by another representative of the same variety, the resulting seeds will produce plants roughly identical to their parents.

Hybrids are created when plant breeders cross-pollinate two different varieties of a plant with the goal of producing a plant with the best traits from each of the parents. Cross-pollination is a natural process that can occur within members of the same plant species. Sungolds are, for example, a hybrid and prove that hybrids can have tons of flavor.

Now for a guide to what is growing on our farm and what you can find in our restaurant and farmer’s market:

PINK BRANDYWINE

The Pink Brandywine gets its name from its hometown Brandywine, PA. This heirloom is one of the most well-known. It has a potato leaf shape that can look like a heart. These tomatoes are super sweet and really meaty.

AUNT RUBY’S GERMAN GREEN

A family heirloom from Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, TN, Aunt Ruby’s German Green is slightly acidic and really sweet with a hint of spiciness.

BLACK KRIM

This heirloom tomato is originally from Krim, Russia and is also known as Black Crimea. Sweet, smoky, and a little bit salty, when the Black Krim gets a lot of heat it turns a violet-brown/purple-red (almost black) color. This year these are thriving in Napa Valley!

GERMAN JOHNSON

A predecessor of the “mortgage lifter” tomato, the heirloom German Johnson has a deep, acidic tomato flavor and a rich, creamy texture.

INDIGO ROSE

The Indigo Rose is commonly referred to as a blue tomato and was bred by Wild Boar farms in Napa for high levels of anthocyanins. These small tomatoes are high in antioxidants.

SUN GOLD

Sun golds are an exceptionally sweet, bright tangerine-orange cherry tomato. They are like candy with a tropical fruit flavor and are great right off the vine directly into your mouth.

BLACK PINEAPPLE

The heirloom Black Pineapple, also known as Ananas Noire, is sweet with low acid and a hearty smoky flavor.

GREAT WHITE

There are several white tomatoes, but we like the heirloom Great White. It is meaty with few seeds, and has a mild non-acid flavor and a creamy texture.

GOLD MEDAL

Gold Medal, an heirloom from Ohio, is an overwhelmingly sweet and meaty yellow tomato with red stripes.

PINK BERKELEY TIE DYE

The Pink Berkeley Tie Dye tomato was developed by Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms. It’s a psychedelic dark pink tomato with green stripes and the flavor is sweet, rich and complex.

EARLY GIRL

Early Girl tomatoes are named as such because they bear fruit earlier than most other tomato varietals. These tomatoes are extremely popular in the US and are often found in backyard gardens.

SOLAR FLARE

Another Wild Boar Farms hybrid, the Solar Flare is luscious and meaty with a slightly sweet full tomato flavor.

PAUL ROBESON

This Russian heirloom tomato has an almost cult following for its distinctive, sweet and smoky flavor. It was lovingly named in honor of Paul Robeson, the famous opera singer and equal rights advocate.

BLUE BERRIES

A small cherry variety from Wild Boar Farms, a ripe blue berry tomato is dark purple where it received the most sunlight and deep red where the fruit was shaded. These tomatoes are super-rich in anthocyanins and the flavor is intensely fruity and sugar-sweet.

BLUE GOLD BERRIES

Blue Gold Berry tomatoes are incredibly beautiful purple and yellow cherry tomatoes. These little tomatoes are bursting with loads of antioxidants and the flavor is very sweet and rich.

PINK BOAR

These port wine colored cherry tomatoes have metallic silver green stripes with an outrageous rich, sweet flavor.

As you can see, there are so many wonderful tomatoes out there right now and there are 101 ways to use them - from a juicy BLT to a luscious sauce to a easy snack. Check out our restaurantchef’s table or farmer’s market for inspiration! 

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