Rain in the Vineyard- a wet winter means what for our wines?

Although it is practically summer, we are still hearing the same great questions in the Tasting Room just about daily- What does all the rain we’ve had mean for our vines?

Thankfully, we have our Proprietor and Vineyard Manager Kyle Lerner on hand to provide some insight into what to expect for the coming year and your 2017 vintages!

What has been the impact of all the rain this year?

wet lot 2017

In our business, rain is always a good thing. We’ve experienced less than average rainfall the past few years, which has had a negative impact on the vineyards and caused the vines to be very stressed. It’s kind of like running a marathon and missing some water stations along the way. We’ve had to help them with additional irrigation to allow more moisture reach the roots. In contrast, this year has been great because it’s kind of a catch-up year. We average about 12 inches of rain a year and in most areas of the Lodi appellation and we are at around 30 inches this year. We now have full soils that are saturated!

What do the vines do with all the rain? How does this change your approach?

Moisture can push very deep through the root zone so that the roots can reach and receive nutrients. The stress has been taken off of them and right now they are in party mode. On the farming side, it may present its own challenges; the vines are extremely happy and have a full moisture profile, so they are going to come out very fast and robust. We’ll approach our farming strategy differently in order to burn off some of that energy and maintain vine balance. Techniques like shoot-thinning, cluster-thinning and leaf pulling may be slightly delayed so that we can allow the vine to use up some of that energy and slow down growth sooner. Basically, our farming practices have been flip flopped somewhat to accomplish the same thing – healthy, happy vines producing at a steady pace.

With the influx of so much rain this season, what is happening in Lodi’s vineyards?

Harney Lane is very fortunate to be faring well, thanks to our location. Some vineyards that reside along the Mokelumne River have been under water for quite some time, due to the outflows of the Comanche River. These may continue to sit under water over the next couple of months. We are located a few miles south of the river, with very sandy soils that allow water to penetrate well. Consequently, we expect a fantastic season and wines coming in 2017.

Thankful message

The 2014 harvest wrapped up early this year with all our grapes in by the second week of October. The farming work is complete and now it is in Chad’s very capable hands to complete the process. Quite a process it is, considering you won’t see the red wines from this vintage until 2016 or 2017.  That means this is the vintage we will likely celebrate our daughter, Kirsten’s (aka Lizzy) high school graduation with.  Wow…I think I sprouted a few grey hairs just typing that…what special moments our Harney Lanes wines are a part of! It’s such a humbling thing to realize how Harney Lane wines have been part of your ... Read More...

KKJThe 2014 harvest wrapped up early this year with all our grapes in by the second week of October. The farming work is complete and now it is in Chad’s very capable hands to complete the process. Quite a process it is, considering you won’t see the red wines from this vintage until 2016 or 2017.  That means this is the vintage we will likely celebrate our daughter, Kirsten’s (aka Lizzy) high school graduation with.  Wow…I think I sprouted a few grey hairs just typing that…what special moments our Harney Lanes wines are a part of!

It’s such a humbling thing to realize how Harney Lane wines have been part of your special Wine:30 moments.  What an honor to have our wines included in your wedding celebrations, retirement celebrations and all the other “big days”.  Even more surreal is realizing that we are included in your everyday Wine:30s! thanks2014 Those moments when you are simply enjoying a quiet afternoon, winding down after a crazy day or sharing a meal with a couple of friends.  We are truly blessed that you let our wines be part of your lives and we are blessed that you are part of ours. Please let us know where or how you’ve enjoyed Harney Lane wines. Snap a picture and post it to our Facebook page!

With the holidays upon us, our Harney Lane family would like to thank you for your loyal patronage and wish you and yours all the joys that the holiday season brings!

Cheers! Jorja and team

What’s Happening in the Vineyard…unseasonable winter & the vines

The iconic images of full, lush green vines weighted with beautiful clusters of grapes during the summer and rich burgundy, gold and auburn leaves during the Fall, illustrate the vibrant life cycle of a vineyard. Not to be forgotten, the bare, cold winter season represents an important part of that cycle as well. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role to the development of grapes. Currently, our vineyards are going through their crucial dormant stage. Dormancy is an important period in any organism’s life cycle. This stage occurs after the vines have experienced adverse conditions. For Lodi, that means freezing temperatures that typically occur in January, and ... Read More...

The iconic images of full, lush green vines weighted with beautiful clusters of grapes during the summer and rich burgundy, gold and auburn leaves during the Fall, illustrate the vibrant life cycle of a vineyard. Not to be forgotten, the bare, cold winter season represents an important part of that cycle as well. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role to the development of grapes.kyle in vineyard by randy c

Currently, our vineyards are going through their crucial dormant stage. Dormancy is an important period in any organism’s life cycle. This stage occurs after the vines have experienced adverse conditions. For Lodi, that means freezing temperatures that typically occur in January, and this year, December.  Growth and development are temporarily stopped, helping an organism to conserve energy.

With the changing climate and abrupt cease of rainfall during the early winter season, many of our Tasting Room visitors have asked how the lack of moisture will affect our vineyards.  During this dry spell, our vineyard team has been closely monitoring the water content of the soil. Special devices are used to measure the depth of soil saturation from previous rainfall in each of our vineyards, up to four feet deep.   In many local vineyards, we still have between 2-3 feet of saturation below the top layer. In our favor is a vineyards ability to absorb and store energy and nutrients during its more vibrant life cycle allowing the vine to remain healthy during a harsh or moisture lacking winter. Although 2-3 feet depth of soil saturation sounds like an adequate amount of moisture to nourish our vines, without more rain in the foreseeable future, it is likely that light irrigation will begin to mimic what is needed.

Pruning is another important part of our vineyard care this time of year. There is a very strategic and systematic approach involved. Clipping is intended to help balance the vine. Stronger shoots, or spurs, are left alone while others are trimmed to control crop yield for the coming season. Our vineyard team is very careful about the timing of certain vineyards as some varietals are more susceptible to disease. After all, pruning is essentially creating an open wound on the vine, exposing it to harsh elements.

Clearly, California needs the rainy season to descend upon us! But rest assured we will do our best in the vineyard and in the cellar to keep the grapes and wines as great as they’ve always been despite the dry spell!

Certified Green

We are proud to share with you that our 2012 Albarino is our first wine to be released bearing the ‘Certified Green’ seal! The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing or simply ‘Certified Green’ is California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program. This program encourages “practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, community and employee well-being, while meeting our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations.” To be certified we, as growers, had to pass an independent audit of our viticultural practices, ensuring that our product qualifies. Congratulations to Kyle and crew for all the hard work and dedication in ensuring the integrity of our vineyards now and into the future. Look for the ... Read More...

We are proud to share with you that our 2012 Albarino is our first wine to be released bearing the ‘Certified Green’ seal!

The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing or simply ‘Certified Green’ is
California’s first 3rd party-certified sustainable winegrowing program. This program encourages “practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, community and employee well-being, while meeting our needs today without compromising the needs of future generations.”

To be certified we, as growers, had to pass an independent audit of our viticultural

practices, ensuring that our product qualifies.

Congratulations to Kyle and crew for all the hard work and dedication in ensuring the integrity of our vineyards now and into the future.

Look for the ‘Certified Green’ seal on all of our newest vintages released in the coming months!

An update to the update- Lizzy in pictures

A lot can happen in just one weeks time…George checked up on Lizzy last week and documented lots of changes. What a beautiful vineyard this is! Enjoy the pictures. Lizzy James Vineyard New life emerges on 4.16.12. Bright, lively foliage begins to evelop the gnarly vines. 4.23.12. The gnarly silhouettes are taken over.   New life on the vines means a future of new wines! Lizzy James- a sea of gnarly beauties!

A lot can happen in just one weeks time…George checked up on Lizzy last week and documented lots of changes. What a beautiful vineyard this is! Enjoy the pictures.

Lizzy James Vineyard

New life emerges on 4.16.12.

Bright, lively foliage begins to evelop the gnarly vines. 4.23.12.

The gnarly silhouettes are taken over.

 

New life on the vines means a future of new wines!

Lizzy James- a sea of gnarly beauties!

Lizzy James Update

We took a little walk around our 108 year old Lizzy James vineyard earlier this week… Buds have broken, clusters are forming and before we know it we’ll be sending the harvesting crew around to pull in the 2012 crop! This vineyard is full of character! When it was new to the family, some twelve years ago, the vineyard was “a restoration project… a lot of dead spots, a lot of vines that needed resuscitating.” It became a project, according to Kyle, “we nursed it back to health and, since then, it’s produced our most award winning wines.”  Take a peak at our beloved Lizzy James Vineyard right now….and come by the tasting ... Read More...

We took a little walk around our 108 year old Lizzy James vineyard earlier this week… Buds have broken, clusters are forming and before we know it we’ll be sending the harvesting crew around to pull in the 2012 crop!

This vineyard is full of character! When it was new to the family, some twelve years ago, the vineyard was “a restoration project… a lot of dead spots, a lot of vines that needed resuscitating.” It became a project, according to Kyle, “we nursed it back to health and, since then, it’s produced our most award winning wines.” 

Take a peak at our beloved Lizzy James Vineyard right now….and come by the tasting room for the awarding winning 2009 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel OR our Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel ‘Port Style Wine’ that is created with her fruit!

Did you hear? Lizzy has a sister…

Check out this recent blog posted on lodiwine.com all about our beloved Lizzy James! Photo courtesy lodiwine.com Since its inception in 2008, Harney Lane Winery has shot up the proverbial charts of Lodi wine lovers with hit after hit of outstanding Lodi grown wines. A flowery fresh Albariño, a first class barrel fermented style of Chardonnay, a velvet lined leather glove-y Tempranillo, and a cigar blast of a Petite Sirah have all found favor among Harney Lane aficionados; but it is Zinfandel – Lodi’s heritage grape – that still anchors the brand. Which makes sense because the Harney Lane heritage actually dates back to over a century of grape growing by the same family ... Read More...

Check out this recent blog posted on lodiwine.com all about our beloved Lizzy James!

Photo courtesy lodiwine.com

Since its inception in 2008, Harney Lane Winery has shot up the proverbial charts of Lodi wine lovers with hit after hit of outstanding Lodi grown wines.

A flowery fresh Albariño, a first class barrel fermented style of Chardonnay, a velvet lined leather glove-y Tempranillo, and a cigar blast of a Petite Sirah have all found favor among Harney Lane aficionados; but it is Zinfandel – Lodi’s heritage grape – that still anchors the brand.

Which makes sense because the Harney Lane heritage actually dates back to over a century of grape growing by the same family who first planted on the present day winery property just east of the town of Lodi.  A terroir that falls well within the parameters of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA, with its ideally deep, porous yet fertile Tokay sandy loam soil and a Delta cooled climate similar in temperatures and seasonal patterns to other proven wine regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Harney Lane’s flagship wine is called Lizzy James Zinfandel; named after Lizzy and James, the elementary school age children of proprietors Jorja and Kyle Lerner.  Lizzy and James enjoy the typical lives of kids growing up on a Lodi farm – pruning canes, pulling leaves, driving tractors, loading up grape gondolas, running through the fields kicking up the summer dust with the dogs who are frantically digging for gophers or chasing down those wascally wabbits.  This was Jorja’s early life when her dad, George Mettler, was actively running the ranch, and probably not much different from the life of Henry Schnaidt, George’s grandfather and mentor, who planted the property’s first vines back in 1907.

Today, Kyle is in charge of farming the 60 acres around the winery, plus another 750 acres within the vicinity either owned by the family or leased from other longtime Lodi residents; including what is now known as Lizzy James Vineyard, a venerated 20 acre plot of gnarly, wizened Zinfandel vines, first planted on nearby Alpine Rd. in 1904.

When the Mettler family purchased Lizzy James twelve years ago, according to Lerner, “it was a restoration project… a lot of dead spots, a lot of vines that needed resuscitating, but we nursed it back to health and, since then, it’s produced our most award winning wines.”  Sitting on super sandy, beach-like soil, the Lizzy James vines give miniscule proportions of Zinfandels that are known not so much for sheer intensity or big, rotund proportions often associated with contemporary style Zinfandels, but rather for a svelte, focused, almost pure black cherry/raspberry varietal character that sticks to the palate like burs on summer pants.

“It’s a goofy little vineyard,” adds Lerner, “probably made up of as many as 10 different clones of Zinfandel, largely because of the continuous replanting in the various dead spots over the years” (typical of Lodi’s pre-Prohibition vineyards, not all the vines in Lizzy James are of the same age).Only 365 cases of the 2009 Harney Lane Lizzy James Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel ($33) were produced, and it was given the royal treatment of 100% French oak aging to highlight its flowery raspberry tea infused nose and dense yet fine, zesty, supple length of flavor, weighted evenly from front to back.

There is a segment of wine geeks and sommeliers these days who like to talk about “the question of balance” in a wine, and how many California wines are farmed (or made) incorrectly and thus are not truly expressive of their terroir.  It’s a shame most of them probably haven’t yet discovered Lizzy James, because this is as true an expression of a place (as opposed to a “varietal” profile) as it comes.  It just happens to be made from good ol’ Zinfandel; not Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, or other such things.

photo courtesy lodiwine.com

But wait, as they say, there’s more… now Lizzy James has a sister wine, also 100% from the Lizzy James Vineyard:  the nonvintaged Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel “Port Style Wine” ($35/500 ml.) – so-called because, legally, new American made fortified sweet reds are not allowed to be bottled as “Port.”  There is a reason why Portuguese grapes like Touriga and Tinta Cão are favored over grapes like Zinfandel for the making of fortified reds:  their skins are considerably thicker and more deeply pigmented, allowing for easier late season ripening, whereas the thinner skinned, tightly bunched Zinfandel is prone to bunch rot when fall weather turns inclement.

Yet Lerner, and his highly respected consulting winemaker Chad Joseph, have managed to produce a pure and bright sweet fortified red purely out of the Zinfandel grape.  This Lizzy James may not be quite as weighty as traditional Port, but is nevertheless as juicy rich and well balanced in its zesty, silken sweetness as any good “Port style wine.”  Think chocolate coated raspberries fed to you while reclined on satin pillows… any questions?  Just enjoy the taste of Lodi’s heritage!

Thank you Randy, for your great words. We love our Lizzy and sure are glad you do too!

Read the original blog here

A Word From Dad

Well, Our Loyal Blog Readers…..you are in for a treat!!!!!!!!  This entry, my dad and patriarch of the family, George, shares with you about this years season.  ENJOY!!!!!…………………………………………………………… “2011 is harvest #48 for me.  I have learned a lot in 48 years.  One thing is —there is no such thing as a normal season.  2011 started out with a lot of challenging weather (cool and rainy) which meant extra sulphuring and spraying to control the mildew and fungus.  This made for a very late veraison.  We have a light crop caused in part by the very cool weather we had during bloom.  With the light crop and ideal late summer weather ... Read More...

Well, Our Loyal Blog Readers…..you are in for a treat!!!!!!!!  This entry, my dad and patriarch of the family, George, shares with you about this years season.  ENJOY!!!!!……………………………………………………………

“2011 is harvest #48 for me.  I have learned a lot in 48 years.  One thing is —there is no such thing as a normal season.  2011 started out with a lot of challenging weather (cool and rainy) which meant extra sulphuring and spraying to control the mildew and fungus.  This made for a very late veraison.  We have a light crop caused in part by the very cool weather we had during bloom.  With the light crop and ideal late summer weather the grapes appear to be of high quality for wine.  We will know for sure when we drink it in 2013-2014.  Kyle has been very busy doing the work (his and mine) in the field and in the winery.

Our winery building that seemed large 3 years ago is now very full.  People keep drinking wine and we keep making more.

The varieties in and crushed so far are Albarino, Chardonnay, Primitivo and Old Vine Zinfandel.  At this point we are waiting for Petite Sirah and Tempranillo to finish ripening so we can harvest them.  Pray for more of this dry warm (not hot) weather.

For a successful season, we depend on good management decisions, good employees, good weather and blessings from above.”

As many of you know, dad’s been dealing with some health issues and he’s not much for sitting still!!  So, thanks, Dad,  for being a good sport and sharing your wisdom of 48 seasons with us while you had to be still for a bit!!!

Growing Up

Well….it’s summer vacation for the kids (aka Lizzy and James)! Don’t we all miss the days of summer break with nothing to worry about but how to stay cool! That said, I’ve been watching our kids over the last couple weeks and it’s reminded me of some of the unique things of growing up on a ranch and now a winery. There are definately some disadvantages, I have to say. For instance, I never learned to skate board and I never got TOO attached to any animal.  Our vacations were infrequent and the pay I earned pulling leaves one summer wasn’t anything to brag about. (I think I earned $1 at ... Read More...

Well….it’s summer vacation for the kids (aka Lizzy and James)! Don’t we all miss the days of summer break with nothing to worry about but how to stay cool! That said, I’ve been watching our kids over the last couple weeks and it’s reminded me of some of the unique things of growing up on a ranch and now a winery.
There are definately some disadvantages, I have to say. For instance, I never learned to skate board and I never got TOO attached to any animal.  Our vacations were infrequent and the pay I earned pulling leaves one summer wasn’t anything to brag about. (I think I earned $1 at 10 cents a vine) But, I also got to do things most kids don’t ever experience. I remember riding to the winery with my dad, climbing up on my tippy toes to get our weight tag for our load and then controlling the mechanism that dumped our gondola of grapes into the crusher. I also have vivid memories of searching for the biggest bunch of grapes for the grape festival and riding through the vineyard to my friends house.
Hopefully, my kids will have similar memories that stick with them….like helping with pressing (their favorite job), driving the quad or forklift, helping on the bottling line, and getting to run back and forth to their grandparents at their leisure.  How many kids get to do these things at their age?  I always tell people that Ian probably knows more than I do about what’s going on in the vineyards and this summer is no exception as he has been spending lots of time checking vineyards with Kyle.  This is our life, not just our work, and they have definitely been involved from day 1!! And, I do have to admit that they think its pretty cool that they have their names on a bottle and vineyard!!  Enjoy a few pics of them enjoying the ranch and winery life.
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The vineyards and winery are a tremendous amount of work but I hope that someday our kids will appreciate that they were able to watch and then work alongside us. Hopefully it will teach them invaluable lessons about hard work, responsiblity and the joys of your accomplishments!! Cheers!!

Spring Images

I love this time of year.   Thought you might all enjoy some of the images around the winery too!  So…..this time I’m short on words and letting the pictures speak for themselves. [nggallery id=1]

I love this time of year.   Thought you might all enjoy some of the images around the winery too!  So…..this time I’m short on words and letting the pictures speak for themselves.
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