Sunday, September 30, 2007

Harvest - September 29, 2007

What a wonderful first day of harvest!! Thank you to everyone who made the day a success. And thank you to everyone who cheered us on from afar!

I will write more about the day's events later, but for now I wanted to get these photos posted for everyone to see.

- Jeff

Friday, September 28, 2007

All systems go!

Tomorrow is a big day for Vellum Wine Craft - many family and friends will gather to harvest our first 3 tons of grapes.

My family will be driving up from Fullerton this evening and friends from all over California are making their way to Sonoma for tomorrow's 6:30 am start.

We will meet at the vineyard for a quick lesson in picking and sorting the grapes. Then the day will move very quickly. The fruit is harvested in just a few short hours and we will make our way to the winery between 10 am and noon.

Feel free to join us on the crush pad if you hit the snooze button too many times. We will be there much of the afternoon!

See you all very soon,


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Cabernet

I just returned home after spending the afternoon sampling grapes and walking the vines of Vellum's largest Cabernet vineyard. A cool weather spell has maintained the brix at a moderate 22 which makes us think it might be another 2 or more weeks before the fruit is ready for harvest.

The longer it hangs - the better.

- Jeff

(Here are some photos from today's vineyard sampling.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Merlot vines - up close and personal

I wanted to share a few photos from my brother Brian's visit to our vineyards this week.

Take a look at the merlot vines - up close and personal in the first photo.

Sampling and tasting the grapes right from the vine is one of life's true pleasures.

Brian is wearing a very stylish Vellum baseball cap. Limited edition!

Harvest this week!!

After the heat wave earlier in the month we saw the brix jump to the 20's and it sparked a county-wide rush to bring in fruit. Growers from all over Napa and Sonoma have been bringing in grapes by the truckload. Seeing their haste, we waited...we re-evaluated...and did some deep analysis on our grapes to guide our harvest schedule.

Our decision to hold off has paid off. We have two vineyards ready to come in...both are at the right sugar level and the extra time on the vine has contributed superbly to the grapes' maturity. The tannins are ripe, supported by balanced acids in the flesh and the seeds are woody and crunchy. Perfect timing!

And though it has been a nail-biter...we are confident that our patience will be well-rewarded.

If you would like to join us during harvest please call to RSVP and get directions to our vineyards.

- Jeff

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A surprise gift

This was not the year we expected. The previous two years here in Napa Valley were wet in the Spring followed by long hot summers and leading to compressed harvests. This season however was a bit of a surprise. A temperate Spring allowed for almost full set in the clusters and the weather remained even but warm throughout the summer with no rainfall.

At the end of August we went through a heat spike bringing up the sugars quickly and dropping the acids in the fruit that ripened early. This led many to believe that once again all of the fruit would come in at once.

The first week of September proved different. The pressure system changed and everything slowed down again keeping with the trend of 2007.

It's the 12th now and our fruit is still on the vine. Consistent daily temperatures have provided for slow maturing of the grapes and concentrating flavors. The clusters look fine, tight, but fleshy with no rot. We are also pleased to know that the acids remain high, balanced, and will provide a terrific backbone for this year's vintage.

This may prove to be one of the finer years Napa Valley has seen in some time and we eagerly anticipate what this year will contribute to Vellum's first vintage.

- Karl

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Countdown to harvest

I will always look back on the 2007 growing season with a smile - having walked miles of vineyard rows inspecting clusters of grapes, sampling berries and pressing clumps of soil between my fingers. Spending time among the vines has been inspirational and grounding on many levels.

And now harvest is almost upon us! We are expecting our first grapes in the week of September 17th.

Karl and I were just out at our merlot vineyard last night, sampling grapes by flashlight and glow stick. We both remarked at how dense the wine from those berries will be. Deep and concentrated.

Of course, that's why we chose the vineyard in the first place. The merlot from this vineyard doesn't taste like merlot. It is inky, rich, dense...but still floats in the mouth as if it were weightless. A simply perfect blending compliment to our Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon.

But enough of the winespeak! Welcome to Vellum's very own blog...or as we like to call it...Vellum's Harvest Notes.

We hope that you connect with us often as we unveil the makings of Vellum's first vintage!