Monday, August 10, 2009

Cabernet in Veraison

Saturday afternoon was a hot one in Napa Valley. But after such a moderate growing season for VELLUM's vineyards, we certainly have nothing to complain about. The 2009 vintage is looking like a legendary one!

Our Cabernet Sauvignon is about halfway through veriason, the time when the grapes turn from green to purple...beginning their final ripening stages.

As grapes ripen, the level of sugar increases and the grapes start to swell with juice and pulp.

The fruit acids called malic acid and tartaric acid begin to shift in proportion. And the closer we get to harvest, the sweeter and more delicious the grapes become.

During these next few weeks, we will be walking the vines to monitor and perfect each individual vine in our vineyards. Yes - we stand in front of each vine (hundreds and hundreds of them) and manicure each one based on its individual needs and fruit expression.

We determine the appropriate amount of grape clusters for each vine - and we even pull individual leaves and shoots to adjust the amount of sunlight that reaches the clusters. By shaping the canopy of the vine, we can have a significant positive effect on the overall quality of the grape clusters.

Come join us in the vineyards sometime - for there is much more to share about the development of a VELLUM grape. After all...fine wine starts in the vineyard!!

- Jeff Mathy


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

VELLUM's Linstad Vineyard

Recently, Jeff and I toured the Linstad Vineyards to get a preview of the Cabernet Sauvignon. We were very pleased to see so many well developed but loose clusters with small berries. This was a product of good vineyard management by Jerry Linstad and by the favorable weather we had in early Spring which brought a lot of ground water and no frost.

An abundance of clusters were formed and left on the vines to bring down the berry size prior to veraison (when the grapes begin to ripen and take on color). This method of control helps ensure a better ratio between the seed and skin and will ultimately produce a concentrated and flavored grape.

Along with these practices and the stretch of cool weather we've been having, we are anticipating much more intensity in the fruit from this vineyard this year. In about two weeks when veraison starts, we will have a better idea about what 2009 will bring for VELLUM's Linstad Vineyard Cabernet. I expect this to be an extraordinary integral wine and serve well as the foundation for the 2009 vintage. We'll keep you updated!

- Karl Lehmann