An exceptionally cold winter and moderate spring had Punxsutawney Phil repeatedly hit the snooze button. With Mother Nature’s slow and steady growing season, Harvest is shaping up to be some 14 days-ish behind the “modern normal”. This is a positive. Slow and steady vintages deliver depth and complexity as seeds, stems and flavor-packed skins fully mature, without pushing sugar levels into the booze-o-sphere. Pending weather patterns, we’re tentatively eyeing somewhere between October 10th and 16th for Chardonnay. We’ll return at the end of next week to begin evaluating flavors in earnest.

Hall Road Vineyard

In Santa Rosa to chalk up yet another near last place finish at a half-marathon in the Russian River Valley, Slow-Poke Stu checked on Hall Road Vineyard. When grabbing dinner, he bumped into Patrick Saboe and Lafayette Bill, one of the longest-tenured members of the TWF winemaking community. (Bill finished the race much closer to the podium than Stu.) Chardonnay at Hall Road looks dandy. Echoing the vintage overall, sugar levels are about two-ish weeks behind normal, but the leaf canopy remains vibrant and seeds & stems are beginning to show the first signs of lignification. Those seeking bigger, richer, rounder interpretations of Chardonnay remain right on target. Right now, the grapes are reading just over 16 brix.

Rodgers Creek Vineyard

Arley, Nik, Paco, Patrick and Stu hopped in the truck to explore the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Rodgers Creek. Because our blocks are miles up/down a tooth rattling dirt trail, we were surprised to see another person also walking the vines. It was none other than Vineyard Manager, Randy, also out to evaluate clusters. The daily push/pull of the fog at Rodgers Creek has clusters ripening a bit more slowly than Hall Road. The grapes are currently at 14.8 brix.