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NEWS AND EVENTS

For the latest listing of winery news and press coverage of Dyer Vineyards!

Bill Dyer
 
March 25, 2014 | Bill Dyer

Drought update

How is the drought in California affecting our vineyard? Right now the vines are still dormant, so they are not requiring any moisture. But the buds are swelling, making us hasten to finish pruning, and in a matter of the vines will leaf out. Then they will certainly require sufficient ground moisture to rapidly grow their shoots to about 1 meter in length in 7 or 8 weeks—will they have enough water?

Back in January our situation looked quite bleak. We had received less than 2 inches of rain during the season to that point. The hills were brown. The cover crops was stunted in some areas, and even none existent in others, where seeds had failed to germinate. It seemed like Napa Valley was in dire straits (note that when we registered our LLC with the State of California it was as Dyer Straights Wine Company LLC—an attempt at humor with the bureaucracy, and perhaps a hope that Mark Knofler would like a case occasionally—Mark where are you? But we were not anticipating such extreme drought.

But in the first week of February the skies opened and we received 9” of rain. Suddenly we could hear the roar of Diamond Creek (the stream between our vineyard and the famous Diamond Creek Winery). Another 5 inches came our way late in the month. Everyone in Napa Valley was buzzing about how quickly the hills became green again, and remarked about the mustard plants blooming afterall. We are still only about 40% of normal rainfall, but what we received was well timed, filling the soil profile just weeks before budbreak

For sure the State of California as a whole is in (OK) dire straits with the drought. The large reservoirs in The State Water Project average around a third full, and the snow pack in the Sierra is less than 30% of normal. We are hearing that farmers in the Central Valley may only get water allocations for orchards and vineyards (to ensure survival of these permanent crops) but row crops will not be supported—so we may all be in dire straits when it comes to food prices in the coming year. But here in Napa Valley, and throughout the North Coast we are cautiously optimistic. We will need to adopt drought strategies (more about that later) but every year has its own challenge. After all, its never “money for nothing” and the chicks aren’t exactly free.

Time Posted: Mar 25, 2014 at 6:29 PM
Dawnine Dyer
 
October 10, 2013 | Dawnine Dyer

Harvest 2013- the grapes are off the vine and in the tank!

Just one week ago, on Sunday Sept 29, we concluded the 2013 harvest at Dyer Vineyard.  It was another banner year for us- early, ample and delicious.  Sugars had hovered around 24 brix for several weeks as we watched the flavors develop and skins soften to the point where color extraction becomes easy.  With a small storm coming in Sunday night we made a quick decision to pull the trigger and pick. 

After 5 years of relatively late seasons (and a few that were cut short, literally, by rain) 2013 was a return to harvest of the 1990s.  No heat waves marred the critical, post veraison ripening period and the fruit was in tip top shape when it arrived at the sorting table.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now mid fermentation, we’re watching a brooding, deeply colored wine take shape.  The tannins are rich and ripe, color intense and that characteristic black cherry note that dominates the best vintages fills the cellar. 

For the second year in a row, we’re fermenting ¾ of a ton of Cab Franc separate from the blend.  From 2012 we’re planning to release 50 cases of pure Cab Franc… it’s too early to say about the 2013, but it could turn out to be a little tradition.  Stay tuned!

Time Posted: Oct 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Dawnine Dyer
 
May 13, 2013 | Dawnine Dyer

A Vertical Tasting of Dyer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

For quite awhile, now, we’ve been meaning to review all the vintages of Dyer Vineyards Cabernet – we’re amazed to realize there are fifteen vintages now (seventeen if you count the two in barrels!) But, we just hadn’t gotten to it.

In a recent moment of serendipity, Bill was talking to Doug Wilder, the Publisher of Purely Domestic Wine Report, who was wondering aloud about the age-ability of Napa Valley Cabernet. The conversation evolved into setting up a fifteen-year vertical tasting of our wine with Doug, who suggested we also invite a couple of his fellow wine writers.  

There’s been a long-running debate on the age-ability of Napa Valley Cabernet because of our lovely, warm climate. The warm growing season is responsible for the generously fruity nature of the wines but it also tends to soften the natural grape acidity. This makes the wines easy to enjoy when they’re young but may take away from their longevity in some cases.

What an exciting opportunity! We taste our older vintages from time to time, but to sit down to a complete vertical with critics we respect is really a very momentous occasion.

We are so pleased that Doug found a “consistent aroma and flavor profile unique to the vineyard” and that that all of the wines, even the first few vintages, are still full of life.

He has just published his thoughts on the tasting along with notes on each vintage and comments on the role that terroir plays in our Diamond Mountain wines. We'll post his notes on the website page for each vintage (Our Wine/Library.) Those of you who have older vintages in your cellar may find it useful. But until we do, you can link to the entire article here.  You may just want to subscribe! 


 

Time Posted: May 13, 2013 at 5:55 PM
Dawnine Dyer
 
March 6, 2013 | Dawnine Dyer

Napa Valley Rocks!

The Napa Valley Vintners is our local trade organization and if you aren’t aware of the educational riches there, you should check it out!

The most recent addition to their library is a video series called “Napa Valley Rocks.” It consists of several short, but very informative, videos that cover everything from the history of Napa Valley to how the vines are pruned.

When it came to the piece on viticulture, I was honored to be asked to provide quite a bit of the content! This video covers the amazing diversity of Napa Valley and you’ll see me talking, mainly, about terroir-driven and single vineyard wines – wines from the hundreds of small producers in the valley like Dyer – and how the sites and practices set one apart from the other. It’s well worth watching, if I do say so myself!

The video series had its world premier at our local Cameo Theater on February 20th, so we had our glitzy, red-carpet night in advance of the Oscars! It was quite an event and helped kick off an annual charity auction called Premiere Napa Valley. This year the auction raised over three million dollars for local charities!

So – happy viewing! Since we’re into March, now, we’re very much looking forward to bud break. Not that we want it to be early – better a bit late than early to avoid frost damage -  but it’s always so exciting to see the first tender green growth emerge from those gnarled, woody vines. Cheers!

Dawnine Dyer
 
February 6, 2013 | Dawnine Dyer

Nine Winemakers Share Their Approaches to Making Great Cab

Well, we’ve had a little excitement here on Diamond Mountain! Bill and I are so pleased that Dyer Vineyards is featured in an article in the January issue of Wine Business Monthly, a trade magazine. It’s part of their Varietal Focus series, and this one is called “Nine Winemakers Share Their Approaches to Making Great Cab.”

It's an in-depth article that features nine wineries, including three from Napa Valley hillside vineyards, three from Napa’s valley floor/Rutherford and three from Walla Walla in Washington State (Washington is now the second largest wine-producing state in the nation and coming on strong!) 

We are proud to be in such good company. The featured wineries include Spottswood, Corison, Pride, Chappellet, Leonetti... Each of us submitted one wine for tasting - ours was the 2008 Cabernet. All of the wines were tasted three times, with each winemaker talking about his/her wine and, specifically, the impact of the vineyard. What a great opportunity to taste the wines from these wonderful producers and hear what the winemakers had to say about them.

We don’t submit our wines for review, but occasionally they’re picked up and reviewed anyway, and it’s always great to get a good review from the press. But, for a winemaker, there’s really nothing better than a good review from our winemaking peers! Not a bad way to start the new year! 

If you'd like to read the article, I'm afraid it requires some patience. You'll need to go here and create a user name and password. Then, you can choose between scrolling through the online version (the story starts on page 98) or downloading the pdf. After all that, who knows, you may find that you want to keep the subscription! Most wine-industry folk start their day by reading Wine Business Monthly's daily news blasts and the magazine is a source of great information about all aspects of the wine industry. Cheers!

 

Time Posted: Feb 6, 2013 at 5:34 PM