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Bill Dyer
September 22, 2016 | Bill Dyer

Almost Ripe

Here are the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in our vineyard on Diamond Mountain just waiting to be picked. We both sampled them today; Bill’s sample was 24.7 brix and Dawnine’s was 24.6 brix so we dodged having to talk about each other’s sampling technique and went on to check the other varieties. Cab Franc was a little higher and Petit Verdot a little lower, but everything is between 24 and 25 brix and looking to be on target to pick them all together and co-ferment in the same tank There was a time when they would likely have all been picked already, but that was before we had a deeper understanding of ripeness. And there was a time in Napa Valley when often there was a grower making the call as when to pick (based on hitting a minimum sugar in a contract) rather than a winemaker making the call. Today we know that sugar and flavor do not increase on the same curve, and we are evaluating other signs of ripeness, including softening of the berries, softening of the skin tannins, and browning of the seeds.  This morning a local was commiserating with me about the cool weather we are experiencing—a high of 78 degrees today and 74 predicted for tomorrow. He was looking at things the old way—knowing that sugars increase more on warmer days. But we love cool weather in the last stages of ripening, since sugars tend to stay even, while flavors increase in intensity, and tannins soften. Photosynthesis is still happening, in fact even more so than on a really hot day when the vines go into defensive mode vs. the heat and close their leaf stomates. More thoughts on grape maturity to follow. Harvesting is likely to happen next week.

Time Posted: Sep 22, 2016 at 8:17 AM
Dawnine Dyer
August 23, 2016 | Dawnine Dyer

Dyer Vineyard Announces that verasion is now underway for Napa Valley Vineyards

Dyer Vineyard is pleased to announce that veraison is underway in the vineyard, signalling a busy harvest in late September for their Napa Valley winery. 

Napa Valley, CA - August, 2016 - Dyer Vineyard has announced the beginnings of veraison in their Napa Valley vineyard.  Veraison is the period when grapes develop color and signals the start of ripening. 

Veraison is an important marker in the growing season when the grapes begin to develop color, accumulate sugar, doubling in size, loosing acidity, and ultimately softening to the point of optimal ripening. From the completion of veraison to harvest generally takes from 45 to 50 days. For the 2016 growing season, veraison is expected to be completed mid August, with the grapes ready for harvesting in the third week of September. 

Great care is taken leading up to veraison to ensure the best growing and ripening conditions. Canapy management and thinning occurs throughout the growing stage to allow proper light saturation, maintain crop balance, and control crop size.

Dyer Vineyard will complete a final "green-thinning" later this month, once approximately 80 percent of the clusters are completely colored. This third thinning allows for even ripping throughout the crop, and results in a more concentrated, balanced wine.

The 2016 vintage marks the 20th vintage for Dyer Vineyard and the 42nd vintage for the Dyers in the Napa Valley. Dyer Vineyard is looking forward to another successful harvest this year.

To learn more about the anticipated harvest for the 2016 growing season and wine selections, please contact Dyer Vineyard directly.

About Dyer Straits Vineyard

In 1996 Bill and Dawnine Dyer planted the vineyard at Dyer Vineyard and used their combined 80 years of winemaking experience to develop their Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. 

For more information, please visit or call (707) 942-5502.

Time Posted: Aug 23, 2016 at 7:26 AM
Bill Dyer
July 28, 2016 | Bill Dyer


Here at Dyer Vineyard we’re just now seeing the first hint of color in the grapes—in viticultural parlance this stage is known as veraison.  This term is borrowed from the French, and signifies the beginning of ripening.   At the beginning of veraison the berries are green, hard, and small. The green color is due to green chlorophyll.  During veraison, the berries double in size, start to accumulate sugar, loose acidity, soften, and in the case of red wine grapes, start to develop red-black color due to development of anthocyanin red pigment.

Experience tells us that from full veraison to harvest is usually 45 to 50 days, which points to the third week of September being a very busy time for Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The last few weeks have been very intense in the vineyard. We have shoot thinned to open up the vines to light, cluster thinned to balance the crop size, sprayed sulfur to control mildew, and managed weeds. Now there is not much to do until veraison is almost complete. When about 80% of the clusters have turned color it will be time for “green thinning” in which the 20% of clusters remaining green will be removed. This will need to be done around the middle of August and will help ensure that our crop ripens evenly.

So the next couple of weeks will be about the last time for a vacation before the 2016 crush (our 20th for Dyer Vineyard, and 42nd in Napa Valley) consumes all our time time and attention.   With that in mind, we will soon be headed to the well-named Paradise Valley in Montana, where the Yellowstone River flows out of the Park, for a week of fly fishing along with sharing wine and food with some other winemaker friends. Then we will be back in Napa Valley for the duration of the season and harvest in our own paradise valley.

Time Posted: Jul 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Dawnine Dyer
July 15, 2016 | Dawnine Dyer

Premiere Napa Valley Winery, Dyer Vineyard, Announces Good News for the 2016 Crop

Napa Valley, CA - July 15, 2016 - The Dyer Vineyard, a pioneering Napa Valley winery renowned for its excellent hand-crafted Cabernet Sauvignons, is very pleased to announce that the worst effects of the recent California droughts appear to be a thing of the past with 2016 looking to be a great year.

The 2015 drought made headlines around the world for the damage done to Napa Valley crops, coupled with unexpected frosts in May which caused further harm. The result was a greatly reduced crop throughout Napa Valley. 2016, however, is now looking to be a much better year for Dyer Vineyard.

Rainfall throughout the winter was back at normal levels, and unlike 2015, the spring frosts were moderate and caused virtually no damage to the crops. This brings a much sunnier outlook to the upcoming harvest.

Vine fruitfulness is looking positive as well, with most vines averaging two clusters per shoot, so very little extra pruning will be required to harvest excellent fruit. With current weather forecasts looking positive, and suggesting a "just right" mix of heat and water, things are definitely looking up for this Napa Valley winery.

Due to lingering effects of the past year, the 2016 harvest will likely not be a 'bumper crop' on par with 2014, but still far better than 2015. Those who love a great Cabernet Sauvignon have good things to look forward to later this year from Dyer Vineyard.

About The Dyer Vineyard

The Dyer Vineyard is a renowned Napa Valley winery, known by wine lovers for their small-batch Cabernet Sauvignon releases, grown and produced on their own 2.5-acre vineyard. The founders, Dawnine and Bill Dyer are known as pioneers who helped build California's sparkling wine industry in the 1970s. With less than three hundred cases released each year, these excellent hand-crafted wines are constantly in high demand and praised around the world.  

For more information or press inquiries, please visit or call (707) 942-5502.

Time Posted: Jul 15, 2016 at 10:50 AM
Bill Dyer
July 4, 2016 | Bill Dyer

Napa Valley Winery, Dyer Straits Wine Company, Announces AVA Recognized Wine from The Diamond Mountain District

Napa Valley, California — June 16, 2016 - With its seasonal availability, Dyer Vineyard wine from Dyer Straits Wine Company is sought after by many wine aficionados. Grown in the Diamond Mountain District, the wine includes flavors that are distinct from other Napa Valley wineries. Dyer Vineyard is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux-styled blend.

The 2013 blend is made of 82 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 13 percent Cabernet Franc, and 5 percent Petit Verdot. The dark wine has rich and powerful flavors including black fruit—more stone fruit than berry. 

The Diamond Mountain District American Viticultural Area (AVA) has volcanic soil that helps the grapes tolerate more direct sunlight and less fog than nearby Napa Valley wineries. The porosity of the soil combined with the altitude of more than 400 feet above sea level enables it to quickly cool down, despite the sun exposure. In summer, daytime temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, while the mornings and evenings can be up to 40 degrees cooler.

These fluctuations in the weather are said to give the area's grapes much of their unique flavors. The warm daytime allows the grapes to fully ripen, while the cooler nighttime temperatures develop firm acidity. The intense tannin, color, and flavor result from the grapes' survival methods.

The Diamond Mountain District's name comes from the volcanic glass that the soil contains. Since the district is situated 40 miles east of the Pacific Ocean and 40 miles north of San Francisco Bay, both bodies of water have cooling influences on the land. 

Dyer Vineyard has slightly more than 500 acres planted for wine—mostly for Cabernet Sauvignon—on the 5000 total acres of the Diamond Mountain District. The district was designated an AVA in 2001 after a dispute about the area's borders after its proposal in 1999. 

Although the AVA was established somewhat recently, the area has been used for wine growing since 1868 by legendary Jacob Schram. He owned and planted 100 acres and by 1892 he began to age and stored wine in underground cellars. His name lives on among Napa Valley wineries with the well-known property, appropriately named, Schramsberg Vineyards. 

Contact Dyer Straits Wine Company directly for more information regarding their wines.

About Dyer Straits Wine Company

Located in Cabernet Country, their vines send down roots deep into volcanic soils producing wines known for their concentration, intensity, and ageability. Handcrafted, Dyer Straits Wine Company produce less than 300 cases per year.

For more information, please visit or call (707) 942-5502.

Time Posted: Jul 4, 2016 at 11:53 AM