Patriarch’s Promise- A Family Legacy; A Wine with Purpose

Our Patriarch’s Promise blend has become a Harney Lane staple since the first pour at our inaugural Dinner with the Family in 2012. This proprietary blend has been the center of many conversations and guessing games, as its contents are well known to be a family secret – and we are a tight lipped group! Although we may not be ready to reveal what goes into a bottle of Patriarch’s, we want to take a moment to share the origin story that began with Harney Lane’s beloved patriarch, George Mettler, as well as announce an exciting new chapter for this unique wine. As a very special, limited feature on our wine list, ... Read More...

Patriarchs on patio

Our Patriarch’s Promise blend has become a Harney Lane staple since the first pour at our inaugural Dinner with the Family in 2012. This proprietary blend has been the center of many conversations and guessing games, as its contents are well known to be a family secret – and we are a tight lipped group! Although we may not be ready to reveal what goes into a bottle of Patriarch’s, we want to take a moment to share the origin story that began with Harney Lane’s beloved patriarch, George Mettler, as well as announce an exciting new chapter for this unique wine.

As a very special, limited feature on our wine list, it is always a lucky day when our Patriarch’s Promise is open for tasting. For those who have had the opportunity to sample it, you know that it is unlike any of our other wines – distinct, full-bodied and flavorful, with rich notes of anise, blackberry and spices. This wine is very near and dear to our matriarch Kathy’s heart, so we love to hear the story as she tells it…

“We have some fruit on the ranch that is considered old-fashioned. Something we haven’t used here in the winery yet. George remembered in his grandfather’s day this particular grape being used as a blending grape and he thought they made really nice wines with it. So, he started bugging Kyle and Chad to make a blend for Harney Lane using this grape. They weren’t real excited about the idea in the beginning…being the stubborn German that George was, he kept at them and, finally, Chad started working on it. Three years later, Chad came up with a blend that George thought was really worth pursuing. George was thrilled and so proud that Chad came around and decided to play with the fruit to make this fantastic wine.”

Although George was only able to indulge in our very first lot of Patriarch’s Promise, we believe that it met (and perhaps exceeded) his expectations. As a final and fitting touch, his daughter and winery co-owner Jorja deliberated over the perfect name, finally settling upon “Patriarch’s Promise” because, in her words, “he had promised that this would make and be a great wine just as he had remembered it to be.” What a tribute!

George by RandyAs many may know, we lost George to cancer in 2013. His legacy certainly lives on through his family, his farm and the winery they worked to create together. In honor of George, as well as many of our winery friends, family and community members who have been affected by this disease, it is our pleasure to announce that we will be donating 10% of sales from every bottle of Patriarch’s Promise to the American Cancer Society. We are proud to support this excellent cause and know that George’s memory will live on through each bottle of Patriarch’s enjoyed!

We feel that one of the best reviews our Patriarch’s Promise has received from lodiwine.com really says it all: “Patriarch’s Promise is a direct reflection of the man for whom home, love, laughter, family (and just below that, farming and fly fishing) loomed largest.”

Patriarch’s Promise is available to purchase in the Tasting Room (open daily 11am-5pm), online here or by giving us a call 209.365.1900. If you’d like to directly support the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer, you can do that here. Thank you for your loyal support!

Click here for some of our favorite recipes to pair with this delicious wine!

Winemaking 101- a recap of the latest in our Winemaker’s Series

Winemaking 101, the third installment of our Winemaker’s Series was full of great information. Winemaker Chad Joseph took guests from our lovely Albarino vineyard through the Crush Pad and into our production facility, on an in-depth journey of just what we do at Harney Lane to process grapes and craft our wines. Guests were treated to chilled 2014 Albarino in the beautiful vineyard where Kyle discussed how we have grafted this varietal onto chardonnay vines. The story goes… our matriarch, Kathy has always been a big fan of Albarino (her cat is even named ‘Albi’!), and convinced the family to try making our own. It took off and we now have ... Read More...

Winemaking 101, the third installment of our Winemaker’s Series was full of great information. Our ConcettaWinemaker Chad Joseph took guests from our lovely Albarino vineyard through the Crush Pad and into our production facility, on an in-depth journey of just what we do at Harney Lane to process grapes and craft our wines.

DestemmerGuests were treated to chilled 2014 Albarino in the beautiful vineyard where Kyle discussed how we have grafted this varietal onto chardonnay vines. The story goes… our matriarch, Kathy has always been a big fan of Albarino (her cat is even named ‘Albi’!), and convinced the family to try making our own. It took off and we now have numerous acres dedicated to it! If you are at the tasting room and would like to take a peak at the grafted vineyard, ask our staff where this is.

The Winemaking 101 journey continued onto the Crush Pad, where Chad showed off our production area, press, macro bins and our state of the art tanks where our 2014 Chardonnay was chilling in its cold jacket. Guests enjoyed samples straight from the tank.

At the tanks

Next up was a sample of our 2007 Dry Rose out of the Library. Chad discussed the way in which we make our rose- where we bleed our grapes (saignee), barrel ferment and age on light lees in oak. The braver in the crowd, even poured lees into their hands for a more sensory experience.

Cabernet barrel samples

Next was a very exciting station- our red winemaking discussion and barrel sample of our brand new varietal Cabernet Sauvignon!!! This is a first for Harney Lane and was a great perk for attendees. Chad and Kyle showed off our sorting table, discussed punch downs, pump overs, settling, racking and so much more.

Sorting and Destemming

Finally, guests were led through our picturesque forest for a treat of our port-style Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel Dessert Wine paired with a wonderful dark chocolate truffle!

Chad created a handy Glossary of Winemaking Terms that we hope you can learn from! Knowledge is power and there is always something to learn. I need to do some studying!

Would you like to attend our Winemaker’s Series? What topics interest you?

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!

Petite Sirah it is!

Thank you Mike Dunne and the Sacramento Bee for a great write up on our Petite Sirah! It’s quickly become a tasting room favorite! Dunne on Wine: Young vines produce well at Harney Lane By Mike Dunne “Oddly, no vintner to my knowledge has put “Young Vines” on the label of a bottle of wine. You see “Old Vines” all the time, even though no fixed definition of the term exists and even though the scientific evidence to support the suggestion that older vines yield superior wines is shaky. Vintners likely avoid boasting of young vines because the vines are untested and because they lack the thick and weathered builds that speak to maturity, ... Read More...

Thank you Mike Dunne and the Sacramento Bee for a great write up on our Petite Sirah! It’s quickly become a tasting room favorite!

Dunne on Wine: Young vines produce well at Harney Lane
By Mike Dunne

“Oddly, no vintner to my knowledge has put “Young Vines” on the label of a bottle of wine. You see “Old Vines” all the time, even though no fixed definition of the term exists and even though the scientific evidence to support the suggestion that older vines yield superior wines is shaky.
Vintners likely avoid boasting of young vines because the vines are untested and because they lack the thick and weathered builds that speak to maturity, experience, survival and photo ops, all valued characteristics in the marketing of wine. And at some unspecified point, young vines no longer could be marketed as young, unless some viticulturist comes up with a way to provide them with the vineyard equivalent of a face-lift.
At any rate, younger vines have shown that they are quite capable of producing remarkably notable wines.”

Continue reading…

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!

What’s Cheese without Wine?

Wine & Cheese… really is there anything better? I think not! Enjoying a good wine and a good cheese can enhance the flavors and complexities of both, however, not all wines and cheeses go together…have no fear… we’ve done the dirty work for you and tasted through all the players, ultimately coming up with an outstanding selection of both wines and cheeses for you to try! Join us on Sunday, March 25 for a fun, informative exploration of the harmony between the right cheese and wine combos. Cindy Della Monica of Lodi’s Cheese Central will join us at the winery to taste through six handpicked, distinct cheeses that pair beautifully with six ... Read More...

Wine & Cheese… really is there anything better? I think not!

Enjoying a good wine and a good cheese can enhance the flavors and complexities of both, however, not all wines and cheeses go together…have no fear… we’ve done the dirty work for you and tasted through all the players, ultimately coming up with an outstanding selection of both wines and cheeses for you to try! Join us on Sunday, March 25 for a fun, informative exploration of the harmony between the right cheese and wine combos.

Cindy Della Monica of Lodi’s Cheese Central will join us at the winery to taste through six handpicked, distinct cheeses that pair beautifully with six of our Harney Lane wines. Winemakers Chad Joseph and Kyle Lerner will share their award winning wines and explore the characteristics that contrast and compliment the cheeses.

Think jammy, velvety, well-balanced 2009 Petite Sirah with a full bodied, semi-soft blue cheese marked with blue-green veins. Or the 2010 traditional Chardonnay paired with a semi-firm, silky textured cheddar-style cheese that has a light caramel flavor and a refreshing tang.

Are you drooling?

I am.

Class is limited. So, if you’re interested, let us know- email info@harneylane.com or call us at 209.365.1900 to reserve your spot.

If that isn’t enough- make a date out of it and pre-order boxed lunches to enjoy on the patio with a bottle of wine once the class has wrapped up. We’re offering a Classic Muffaletta Sandwich ($15)- Italian deli meats, provolone and olive salad on Italian loaf, served in wedges with garden salad, fruit and dessert- OR- a Ravioli Salad ($10) dressed with fresh herb vinaigrette, served with a baguette, fruit and dessert.

Who’s in?

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