Category Archives: Winemaking

Anything having to do with wine production

Winemaker on Tour

This past week I spent an amazing 48 hours in Denver, Colorado. I’d only been to Denver a few times in the past but always remember having a good time. We had quite a few amazing meals this trip. The first was a lunch at Pallatte’s located at the Denver Museum of Art. The Ahi Tuna tacos were a great start and then the Cobb salad was the perfect light introduction to what would turn out to be several great meals. The dinner that night was at a small casual gastro pub called the Coral Room located in an unassuming strip mall in one of the most up and coming areas of the Denver suburbs. We went through several courses paired with the Robert Mondavi Winery wines. The highlights for me was the smoked salmon appetizer as well as the amazing cheesecake with blueberry sauce for dessert. The next day following a meeting with our amazing distributor team we went to lunch at a restaurant called Cool River. I had a wonderful 7oz Filet here which was the highlight of the meal and I still feel a bit of regret that I didn’t get a chance to try their Makers Mark Bread Pudding. Maybe next visit? Dinner that night was at an amazing restaurant called Coolhills run by a husband and wife team comprised of Tom Coolhill, the culinary genius, and D, the front of house manager. The multi course menu that we went through was the gastronomic highlight of the trip. Our wines were beautifully paired with the dishes which are listed in full below.

All and all it was a very successful sales trip and I especially loved meeting all the amazing people that came to all the lunches and dinners.

Meanwhile, back in Napa, I was getting Brix updates from some of our Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards which included one block of Pinot that was at 17.5 Brix, last Monday. Harvest is approaching rapidly and I’m happy to be back home to turn my full focus on the incoming fruit.

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In a Winemaker’s Shoes

This week we are in the middle of bloom. Normally I would be happy about that but this bloom shows the first portends of a challenging vintage. The bloom is not even. There are some clusters with full bloom while others are still tightly closed on the same vine. Below is a picture of full bloom in Merlot

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The weather has also been less than ideal. Rain last Thursday night and cool, windy conditions are not ideal for an excellent set. This may be a blessing in disguise however. The flower clusters that are out there are big. Large wings and long primary clusters. Here is some Cabernet in Monastery Block of To Kalon.

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In the meantime, I’ve decided to retire my boots. This has been the absolute best pair of boots I’ve ever had. Winemaking is hard on boots. They have to tromp through vineyards, up and down hills, in both wet and dry conditions then come into the winery only to be covered in grape pumace and splashed with wine. Mine have the added requirement of dealing with a house renovation and running after an 18 month old. I bought them for the 2010 vintage and they have lasted me through 2011, 2012, and 2013. I, of course, went out and bought the exact same shoe. I knew I had worn them down but until I compared the two pairs I had no idea how much. Here are the comparison pics below.

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Apparently I’ve asked a lot from my shoes and these have delivered. Who knows how many miles they have walked but I look forward to seeing how many miles I can get out of the new pair!>

Springtime in London and Napa

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This week I’ve been on the first leg of an international sales trip which began earlier in the week in the beautiful city of London. I’ve been all over, presenting Robert Mondavi Winery wines to trade and media this week but in between I’ve made the most of my small amounts of down time to see the sights of the city. I’m joined on this part of the trip by esteemed Zinfandel winemaker, Joel Peterson, who is pictured with me above in one of the beautiful gardens of London. Spring has a firm hold on the city and not only is it mild weather, the spring flowers

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My inner plant nerd was loving the flowers and some of of the trees that were not budded out yet were still very impressive like this European Beech (Fagus syilvatica)

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On my way out of Napa there were signs of the new vintage as I spotted the first bud break in To Kalon vineyard in the N2 block, another sign that spring and vintage 2014 is upon us.

Now I’m saying goodbye to London and hopping a quick flight to Dusseldorf, Germany to attend Prowein, which I will have an update on next week.

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