vineyards


After much anticipation, we are proud to announce the inaugural release of Stomping Girl Wines.  Our two 2008 Pinot Noirs are so seductive that it is difficult not to keep it all for ourselves! Alas, we are releasing it…

Order Now and Save

Order yours before February 1st and save 10%.  Just put your order in the shopping cart and use the coupon code: PreRelease.

Celebrate with us at our February 6th 2-4 PM Release Party at the winery at 2323 4th St, Berkeley, pick up your wine there and also save on shipping.  Just place your order by February 1st and designate Pick up/Local as your shipping option.

Otherwise,  wine orders will be shipped out on February 1st, weather permitting.

Unique Opportunity

Stomping Girl produces very small lots of handcrafted, artisanal Pinot Noir and 2008 is our first commercial vintage.  Consider this an opportunity to buy some to enjoy now and some to tuck away in your cellar for future special occasions before it’s gone.  After all, there is only one first release of Stomping Girl Pinot Noir.

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  We had a great 2 week break starting off with a road trip to Seattle.  On the way, we spent 2 days in Oregon seeing a couple of friends and wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.  We wish we had had more time to spend in the Willamette Valley but we had just enough time to taste some impressive Oregon Pinots at the incredible Domaine Drouhin; the serene, indeed, Domaine Serene; and the beautiful Stoller Vineyards.

Domaine Drouhin vines in winter

Domaine Serene

Stoller Vineyards

After a fun, relaxing and indulgent Christmas week with family in Seattle we rushed back to spend the 2nd week with our big, “stomping girl” who was home from college for a short break. I know it’s cliche but all I’m going to say about that is they grow up way too fast!!

Now it’s back to work and we are in high gear preparing for the release of our 2008 Pinot Noirs–putting the final touches on our online ordering site, printing up tasting and technical notes and planning the February Release Party.  Stay tuned and we hope to see some of you there!

This past Sunday we participated in the annual Corona Creek Olive Harvest.  Corona Creek, in addition to it’s excellent Pinot Noir vineyard, has an olive grove.  Chris makes the most incredible olive oil out of these olives.

A crowd of about 50 volunteers descended on the olive grove early in the morning and got busy pulling, shaking and generally having a good old time helping Chris, the owner, bring down as many olives as we could before the lunch feast at noon.

Picking olives

Kathryn setting up the olive capturing tarp

Ben 'working'

french baby picking olives

One of the main reasons we elected to source grapes from Corona Creek is due to the fact that it is a small family farm with sustainable practices growing a variety of vegetables in addition to the grapes and olives. In other words, it is far from a mono culture farm.  In fact, it is quite multi-cultural.

In any case, olive picking was a lot of fun.  We met a lot of people from all walks of life.  The kids and dogs had a great time through the trees and the vineyards and we learned a bit about what makes good olive oil while enjoying our fellow pickers’ company. Afterward we enjoyed a lovely meal along with some of Corona Creek’s own Pinot Noir.  To top it all off, a lively singing trio was on hand to entertain the crowd during lunch.

Singing trio

We had our first harvest this week for 2009–our Beresini Vineyard Pinot Noir.  The fruit, beautiful, tasty and at perfect Brix (sugar) and pH levels, was telling us it was time to pick.  Those of you in the Bay Area know that Mother Nature was not in agreement, however.  She handed us some rare and unexpected thunder showers just before our planned harvest date. Luckily Beresini is in the Carneros appellation just north of most of the weekend showers that hit our area and with a minor date adjustment, we were able to pick, sort and de-stem the fruit without a problem and under sunny skies.  Uzi was in the vineyard to help harvest and take the video and then met us at the winery with the grapes.

sortingBeresini

Sorting Beresini Pinot Noir

Uzi taking Brix measurements in the vineyard     

Uzi taking Brix measurements in the vineyard

The vineyards in the Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros from which we source fruit look beautiful and the weather has been perfect these last weeks with cool nights and warm days.  Earlier this week we visited each vineyard and brought along our handheld refractometer to measure the Brix levels of the grapes.  The refractometer looks similar to a small telescope.  There is a small glass plate that flips out onto which you place a sample of juice by squishing above it a grape freshly plucked from the vine.  Then you hold it to the sun and the light traveling through the sample in the refractometer is reflected (refracted?) in such a way that a line shadow is formed separating a dark area from a light area.  It is here at the shadow line that the reading is taken.

Our measurements at Lauterbach Vineyard in the Russian River Valley were about 20.5 Brix.  Beresini Vineyard Brix level, in Carneros, is slightly behind at 20.2 Brix.  Corona Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, is farther behind,  as expected, at around 17 Brix.  We shoot to harvest at 24.5 Brix and Lauterbach Vineyard in the RRV will probably be our first grapes to be harvested and brought into the winery in approxiately 2-3 weeks.

RRV grapes at end of August

RRV grapes at end of August

Uzi and I were in the Russian River Valley this weekend trying to finalize a third Pinot Noir vineyard for 2009.  The weather was a cool 75 degrees when we arrived at the first vineyard just off River Road at 10:30. The owner walked us through his vines of Pommard, 115 and 777 clones.  These are the Pinot clones we prefer, the clones that will hopefully give us the well-balanced, yet complex Pinot Noir we prefer.  At just under 8 acres, the Pinot vineyard is nicely farmed by a very well-known farmer/viticulturist who keeps the yield to about 2 tons/acre–this is the type of low-yield vineyard we are looking for.  The grapes here have just barely begun to change color.  This process during which the grapes turn from green to purple is called verasion.  The owner speculated harvest will occur mid-September.

verasion begins

verasion begins

We tasted several samples of the 2008 vintage as well as a 2006 and 2004.  All were very impressive, in particular the 2004.  We enjoyed sharing winemaking stories with the owner and then went on our way to mull the opportunity to buy grapes from this vineyard.  This year we have been lucky to have unprecedented opportunities to some excellent Pinot fruit.  We stopped just down the hill to taste at Martinelli Winery and have a working picnic under their beautiful arbor with the single biggest cluster of grapes I have ever seen.  Get a load of this cluster:

grapecluster

working lunch

working lunch

The temperature quickly rose as we reached our second stop.  It made for an uncomfortable walk in the 92 degree heat.  Here in these vineyards, just to the northeast where it is warmer, verasion had reached almost 30%, according to the helpful viticulturist who took us through the vineyards.  She mentioned that harvest may very well come by the end of August.  In the picture below you can see how much farther verasion has progressed at this vineyard than in the preceeding one.

verasion progressing

verasion progressing

Here they have several blocks of Pinot Noir containing an array of clones–114, 115, 459, 667, 777, 828…So many, that I am not kidding when I say I had these numbers dancing in my head that night as I slept.  A very well-maintained vineyard with an incredible range to choose from. During this trip it was easy to see how the microclimates within the Russian River Valley make a big difference.  In just a 2-mile radius there can be more than a month difference in harvest date for the same varietal.  In fact, records we compared for these two vineyards show about 1 month difference in harvest dates.

If Uzi had his way, he would check in on “our” vineyards at least once a week.  And, actually, as the harvest gets closer he would be there everyday. While he is not able to go that frequently, the 5 of us did pile in the car Father’s Day weekend and drive up for a visit.  I think he likes to see the 2 guys who own the vineyards almost as much as he likes to check on the grapes.  And after meeting them for the first time, I can see why.  Chris Ritcey (Corona Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Coast) and Steve Beresini (Beresini Vineyard, Carneros) are providing us with grapes this year.  Each took our family on a private tour of their vineyards and resident farm animals. Both of them are super nice and down to earth.  

First stop:  Corona Creek vineyard, Sonoma Coast.  Chris Ritcey first led our kids down to see his sheep and feed them. One sheep, endearingly named #5, took a liking to us and the bucket of feed Chris gave us.  Then he took us on a tour of the vineyard and gave us a short lesson on the ripening of the grapes.

kids and #5

kids and #5

Chris and Uzi

Uzi and Chris

Chris in Sonoma Coast vineyard

Chris

Next we headed east to Carneros.  After a quick stop for brunch at the Boon Fly Cafe at the Carneros Inn (yummy housemade doughnuts,) we crossed the street to Beresini vineyard.  Steve came out to greet us, led us into the vineyard and immediately starting clipping the small, unwanted suckers he came across.  As Uzi has written before, Steve is always making wine in the vineyard.

Steve Beresini making wine

Steve Beresini "making wine"

carneros Pinot grapes

Beresini pinot 6/09

The berries in Carneros were a little bigger than the Sonoma Coast berries.  That may be an indicator they will be ready for harvest earlier or it may just be the clone.  Either way, the countdown has begun.  90 days (+/-) to harvest and counting…

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