Dear Wine Friends, Today, while pilfering other wine blogs I saw this cool badge for “Adopt a Grape”. I clicked through and found that I could “virtually” adopt a grape vineyard, without the pesky work or COST, and learn via e-mail, what happens in my vineyard for a year. The bright idea is based on the notion that we’d all love to be winemakers…without the pesky work or cost. I picked my “block”, not based on the description sent to me (see below) but by a random feel for the land. I think. And, as I’m generous with my virtual wine, I give you some of the correspondence and information below so you too can become Grape Parents. Yours, in wine and out, Eve
Eve’s Wine 101
About Your Grape
- Block 4 vines are planted on the same rootstock as the famed Screaming Eagle vineyard. This is first block you walk into when entering the vineyard, and has the most vigorous soil on the property. We regulate the vines by withholding water, a technique used to stress the vines and concentrate the flavors of the fruit. Block four is known as “thirsty,” because we are always withholding water from the vines.
Your Grape Log
November 20th, 2007
- We are experiencing a beautiful Indian Summer in Napa right now. The vineyard has been picked and the vines have given us their fruit and are sort of “getting their rest”. Most of the vineyard still has colorful Fall leaves. At this stage, the vines begin to shut down. The vine creates carbohydrate stores for the dormant season ahead. The plant must have the energy to push forward the new buds and the first leaves without the benefit of photosynthesis at those earliest stages. All the wines are being fermented in tanks and barrels now. We will show you those events in the next few films we release on Adopt a Grape.
- Block 4: As of the last posting, our concern with Block 4 was shriveling fruit. One of the saving graces of the cool weather this fall was that it was very gentle on this block. The harvest tonnage came in much lighter than years past. We were very judicious with our watering regimen.
September 26th, 2007
- Ripening slowed down to a crawl this past week. I took some pictures in the vineyard on Saturday when it was raining. Yes, RAINING! Almost unheard of in Napa this time of year. Fortunately, it was just a brief rainfall that didn’t portend disaster for us. If we had 5 or 6 days of rainfall and no warm weather on the horizon, we would be in trouble. As it is, things are looking promising. We have a bit of shrivel in the vineyard in spots. It was caused by the excessive heat of a few weeks ago. This time of year is nerve racking to those of us in our first handful of harvest. And for those of us with “control issues”, it may never get better. I admire the veterans of many crushes that seem unperturbed by anything Mother Nature throws at us. Their attitude is to appreciate the great weather that is the rule rather than the exception in Napa and not to wring their hands over what they can’t control. Something to aspire to.
- Block four is showing the most heat stress. This is tricky because Block 4 has the most vigorous soil. Too much water and the grapes can taste vegative. Too little and it suffers from heat stress. I would estimate that 5-10% of the fruit is showing some stress. Even more difficult is the stress is only on the side that is getting direct sunlight on the fruit. This falls into the category of “acceptable loss”. We may be losing some fruit here, but the quality of what remains will be excellent.
August 15th, 2007
- Block four is looking great! We just completely finished veraison and everything went to plan. The soil in block four holds a good amount of water (especially compared to the rest of the vineyard), so it’s producing more fruit than we would like. So we’re going to have the Maldonado farming crew come through and drop some more fruit as the crop still looks too large.
Then via e-mail I got this:
Hi Eve’s Wine 101,
Welcome and thank you for joining Adopt a Grape. We look forward to sharing the journey of “your” fruit with you from soil to wine. As your tour guides, we will be bringing the vines to life as we learn together what each vintage brings.
Ultimately, your grapes will make up our Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon at Fantesca Estate & Winery. The property is an enterprise fond of women and wit. The unique property was part of Caroline Bale’s dowry in her 1860 marriage to Charles Krug and it has been dedicated to the art of wine for close to 150 years. Fantesca, the winery’s namesake has a distinctive history as well. One of a handful of characters central to the improvisational theater of the 16th century Commedia dell’ Arte, la Fantesca was a plum role for women in the male-dominated Italian theater. Young clever and ready for intrigue, la Fantesca captivated audiences as a bold and vivacious character. Her smart, sexy wit never failed to steal the heart of Harlequin, instantly recognizable in his colorful costume. The diamond pattern silk screened on every Fantesca bottle evokes the playful spirit of their union.
We believe winemaking should be taken seriously, but approached with levity. We want to make the best wine we can, but we want to do it with a smile and a wink.
With the winemaking finesse of Heidi Barrett at the helm; the wine is world class. Fantesca is Heidi’s first new project since leaving Screaming Eagle. You can learn more about Heidi and Fantesca at www.fantesca.com. Due to our small production, we allocate our wine to our mailing list as well as select fine wine destinations. Become a Velvet Rope member and you will soon have access to very limited wine projects including our pinot noir and red blends that only FEW know about. In addition, you will be an invited guest to share in the fun at Fantesca events. Join our mailing list.
Let’s raise a glass and toast new friendships and let the journey begin!
Susan & Duane Hoff