You can see that things are really taken off in the vineyard! The weather’s been lovely and the vines are showing their appreciation.
As the shoots have lengthened, we’ve started tucking them into the trellis system - it's called “vertical shoot positioning.” The purpose is to get lots of sunlight to the leaf surface, to heighten fruity flavors, and filtered light to the clusters.
Regarding that second goal, the filtered sunlight, we’ve made an improvement in our trellising system. Notice the cross arms on the grape stake? Those are new!
Up to now, we have trained the shoots straight up at a 90-degree angle to the ground. That was good.
But, in the last few vintages, we’ve experienced some sun damage due to extreme heat. The clusters, which hang below the leaf canopy, were almost completely exposed.
Our answer to weather extremes is to be less extreme in our shoot positioning. The shoots are still being trained vertically, but as they grow longer and longer, and we tuck them into the wires on those cross bars, they’ll be positioned in a more relaxed, natural way and the shoots will be able to provide some protection to the clusters, below (once they show up – after flowering). Nice, dappled light is our goal. Those crossbars also do a great job of supporting the canopy. Don’t you think it looks a little more graceful, too?
The vines should begin flowering any minute, now, and the weather predictions are favorable. If these predictions hold true, this will be the first vintage of trouble-free flowering since 2009.
As the shoots get longer and longer we’ll tip them to make sure the canopy is balanced with the crop. Let’s just hope this terrific weather holds!
It just got easier to taste Dyer Cabernet when you visit Napa Valley! Bill and I love hosting visitors here at the winery, and we’ve managed to receive quite a few. But, with just the two of us doing everything from tending the vines through bottling the wine, plus our day jobs - consulting for other wineries – sadly, we end up having to turn away folks we’d really like to meet.
So, what can a tiny winery like ours do to introduce itself to the many wine enthusiasts who visit the Napa Valley and want to taste limited-production wines from small producers who are off the beaten track? Enter the collective tasting room. These collectives have been popping up all over the valley in the past several years and they often feature wines like ours - wines from very small wineries that you aren’t likely to find at home.
We’d been toying with the idea of placing our wine in a collective tasting room over the past year and, after considering a number of options, we found a perfect match for us at Up Valley Vintners, in downtown Calistoga.
By choosing the name “Up Valley” they’re telling you that they serve wines from the northern end of Napa Valley. You can taste our wines, from the Diamond Mountain American Viticultural Area, right alongside our neighbors in the Calistoga Viticultural Area. Of the five wineries represented there, four of us make wine exclusively from our own vineyards, so the wines offer a strong sense of place and a great opportunity for you to become better acquainted with the regional character of these up-valley wines.
The small staff is highly qualified and really knows their wines. In fact, the summer intern is spending time in each of our vineyards and will be able to give you the inside story on how the wines are grown and made. It’s a beautiful space that includes a tasting bar, a comfy sitting area and lovely courtyard to enjoy during the summer months.
We’re really excited because this tasting room gives us to chance to do some things we just haven't been able to do here at the vineyard. For instance, on May 10, both Bill and I will be there to open several vintages going back to our earliest wines from 1996 and 1997. We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to meet you and talk about the wines one on one.
Up Valley Vintners is right in the heart of Calistoga at 1371 Lincoln Avenue, the main road that runs through town. They’re open every day from 12 - 5 – no reservations necessary. Of course, you’re very welcome to call 707-942-1004 if you have any questions or would like to learn more.
We hope you’ll visit often and would love to have the chance to meet you there the 10th. Cheers!
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