The storm arriving tomorrow (February 19) will likely put us up over 60 inches of rain for the season here in Napa Valley. After 4 years of draught, we were giddy, at first, at the idea of a rainy season but now the fact that it looks like Ireland in the vineyard is starting to
In the Dyer household, there is no better Holiday gift than a good book. In the last couple years, several friends have published books related to wine. They range from memoires to collections of interviews, to deep reference (highly readable) about soils and history to guide books. Each is worth a read and would make a fine gift!
The Winemaker’s Hand—Conversations on Talent, Technique, and Terrior by Natalie Berkowitz features interviews with over forty winemakers from all over the world (full disclosure—two of them are us). Based in Manhattan, Natalie has been a friend for over 30 years, and we always look forward to having dinner with her on her frequent visits to Napa. ISBN 978-0-231-167756-7 (cloth) –ISBN 978-0-231-53737-7 (ebook)
Wood, Whiskey, and Wine—A History of Barrels by Henry W. Work covers two thousand years of the use of barrels in producing wine and spirits, and gives an insider’s view of the cooper’s craft. Over his career Henry has imported barrels and he ran a cooperage in Kentucky. Bill was buying barrels for Sterling Vineyards from Henry during the ‘80’s and 90’s. A long time Calistoga resident, Henry now resides in Nelson, New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-78023 3567
From Bubbles to Boardrooms Act 1 Startups Are Such Fun and Act 2 Becoming A CEO by Michaela Kane Rodeno is a personal account of the career of one of the first woman executives in the wine business. Dawnine worked closely with Michaela at Domaine Chandon beginning in 1976. ISBN 978-0-9896342-0-5 and ISBN 978-0-9896342-2-9
Volcanic Wines—Salt, Grit, and Power by John Szabo, MS examines wines from around the world that share in common that they are made from wines growing in volcanic soils. We can attest that this Master of Wine researched this book thoroughly—he visited Dyer Vineyard to taste our Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, and describes it perfectly in the book. ISBN 978-1-910254-00-4
Appellation Napa Valley—Building and Protecting An American Treasure by Richard Mendleson tells the remarkable story of the interaction of the land and people that led to the establishment of America’s first Agricultural Preserve, which is responsible for our valley remaining focused on viticulture even as the Bay Area has urbanized all around us. Richard is an attorney and professor who pioneered the field of Wine Law, but we have also known him as a fellow winemaker all the way back to when we arrived in the valley 40+ years ago.
Moon Handbooks—Napa & Sonoma by Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is packed with information our local wine country. We can attest that it is recently updated-the author stayed with us (Liz is Dawnine’s niece).
Napa Valley Heyday by Richard H. Dillon is a definitive history of Napa Valley, going all the way back to its formation, and the natives who first settled here. By now this is a collectors’ item, and priced accordingly, but copies can still be found. The Book Club of California commissioned it, and our close friend David Marston played an important role in its creation.
With the 2016 vintage safely in the barrel and now undergoing malolactic fermentation, we have time to step back and reflect on the season. It’s too early to prognosticate about “vintages of the century” but it was certainly a good one. Before we get caught up in planning the holidays, and maybe another tropical vacation, here’s
AS WE APPROACH THE RELEASE OF THE 2014 DYER VINEYARD CABERNET FRANC, WE THOUGHT IT would BE A GOOD IDEA TO POST THE CABERNET FRANC STORY Cabernet Franc has long been our favorite blending variety here at Dyer Vineyard and is best known worldwide in that capacity- used most often with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the making of Bordeaux style
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
Matt Kramer’s New California Wine, a revision of his 1992 classic Making Sense of California Wine has just been published. We like his revisionism! Here’s what he says about us: “Dyer Vineyard—This is the tiny, personal vineyard (and home) of two former winemakers, Dawnine Dyer (former head winemaker of Domaine Chandon) and Bill Dyer
Diamond Mountain District 8/22/16 – It’s mostly quiet on Diamond Mountain where there’s near unanimous agreement that it will be mid September before we see any real action. Budbreak was early but a cooler May delayed bloom and put us pretty much back to “normal” by the time we had berry set. Cluster counts are
Diamond Mountain District 8/25/15 “Vineyards on Diamond Mountain can be divided into two camps- those that finished bloom before the cool weather in May and those that didn’t finish bloom until early June. Those on the earlier track, north-facing slopes and young vineyards, are rapidly approaching full maturity while those on the later track are
I suppose every field has its controversies. Two that we hear about quite often in wine production are alcohol level and the hundred point scale. I will address them together as I believe they are closely linked. Over the last decade or so we have seen alcohol levels in table wine creep up. Levels of
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
For quite a while, 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
We recently sent out an e-mail to our mailing list customers informing them we will not be releasing a 2011 vintage from our vineyard, and instead are offering an older vintage (2005) from our library for the holidays. This is after 15 consecutive annual releases–here is the story behind our “missing vintage.” We have often