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.
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!
I think that one of the most intriguing things about wine is not the wine itself but people’s reaction to it. And I think the range of wines available is just about as wide as the range of palates you find. This has been a new experience for me as I stand on the other side of the bar or the table at a wine event and listen to people describe the wines. I have had everthing from the simple…”that’s good” to ….a description of multiple aromas and flavors …..to a full description of how the wine would pair with a particular dish that they create on the spot as the taste the wine and pair the flavors in their head with their culinary expertise. One of the most interesting experiences happened just recently at the REAF benefit in San Francisco. One of the dancers from the show came to taste at the after party. He very definately described the wine but interestingly enough didn’t really use any words. Instead he used movement, his method of expression. I guess it’s really not surprising that we all use our own methods to describe wine or anything else for that matter, but I still find it interesting.
Even writers and wine experts taste their own unique things in a wine because as much as the wine is the same, everyone’s palate is unique to them. Just revisit with me some of whats been said about our 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel just in the last month……”Oodles and Poodles of thick, sumptuous, black velvet canvassed flavors suggesting luxury chocolate with swirls of vanilla”….”fresh blackberry pie cooling next to some homemade fudge”…. “campfire in the bottle”…..”berrylicious”…….”leaves you screaming for S’mores”. I’m not great at pinpointing and describing but I very definately know what I like and don’t. Whatever it is you taste in it….all that really matters is if you like it and the flavors you find in it, not whether you can describe them or not. And judging from the sales of our newest Old Vine Zinfandel, so far, most of you LIKE IT!
If you live close to vineyards you will notice that pruning season is in full swing. In fact we have completed about two thirds of our pruning. It always seems like a clean fresh start that I appreciate after the frost has left the vineyards and most of my yard looking a bit beaten. It even inspires me to want to do some Spring Cleaning (now…if I can just find the time). I can’t help but think about how many “fresh starts” our Lizzy James vineyard has seen since 1904. Imagine starting your 106th season. Think how many hands have tended you, think of the weather patterns you’ve seen, think of how many bunches you’ve grown, think of how you are thankful that you weren’t replaced with a young vineyard.
So what is pruning and it’s purpose? Well, it really is the whole foundation for the upcoming season. Pruning sets the stage for vine and crop balance which is essential for fine quality wine. Yes….I said wine…..because as farmers we hold strong to the ideal that great wine has to start with great grapes. And great grapes don’t just happen (although some seasons are more cooperative than others), they are fostered, tended to, worried about and loved.
And when it comes to farming, I can’t miss the opportunity to toot Lodi’s horn a bit. Lodi grows more wine grapes than Napa and Sonoma combined and has been the backbone of the wine industry for decades. And in Lodi 80% of the wineries are owned by growers….those same people who foster, tend and worry about their vineyards season after season. Lodi growers have adapted to market changes, lead the way in farming practices and managed to survive as farmers generation after generation. Not an easy feat!! And thank goodness because if we didn’t have growers that did just that their would be no OLD VINE zinfandel and the landscape of Lodi would look strikingly different. So with our fresh start to the season…..Hats off to Lodi Growers!!!