It has been hot and dry this year, we are definitely experiencing drought on the Central Coast. Despite the dry conditions, the vines look good, and we have experienced fruit set in June. Berries are forming in the clusters and we are expecting harvest to occur in just 3.5 short months!
[The canopy is thriving with warm weather conditions!]
The canopy is thriving with warm weather conditions!
[We have been irrigating more than usual this hot Spring.]
We have been irrigating more than usual this hot Spring.
[Fruit set looks good!]
Fruit set looks good!
We hope to see you at the end of the month at the Release Party! Get up close and personal with the vines on our vineyard tour!
It has been warm in Paso Robles! We have seen a lot of new growth all over the vineyard. It is really exciting to see the first clusters forming on the vines that were planted last year. We will not have a viable crop for wine production from those new vines this year, but it is great to see they are thriving!
[Great canopy growth!]
Great canopy growth!
[Young Mourvedre vine.]
Young Mourvedre vine.
I got to spend a quick but wonderful weekend in Paso for the inaugural CABs of Distinction event put on by the Paso Robles CAB Collective. The events were fabulous and the wines amazing. If you can, I highly recommend attending the consumer event next year!
I was able to take a few pictures of the vineyard to get in this blog post before the end of the month! Spring can be a stressful time in the vineyard. Once the buds break through, it is crucial to keep the new growth safe from the elements. It can still get pretty cold in the early morning hours and the vines are susceptible to frost. Frost can drastically reduce the yield of a crop and in the worst case, destroy an entire crop. Fortunately, because of our location and the fact that we delay pruning for so long at the beginning of the year, we do not typically experience extensive frost damage.
We are taking frost into consideration when developing the new plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and taking several measures to protect the new vines from frost in the future. A blog post describing those measures will be coming soon!
[Left - April 5th, Right - April 28th]
Left – April 5th, Right – April 28th
[Fragile new growth.]
Fragile new growth.
It is in the 90’s today in Paso Robles, so expect to see much more green and substantial growth in May’s post!
Finally, some action in the vineyard! Crews have pruned 95% of the vines so far and now we are awaiting bud break. The remaining vines (all Syrah) have not been pruned yet because they are planted in the lowest part of the vineyard which is susceptible to the coldest temperatures. We have delayed pruning these vines to further protect them against frost. Check back next month to see the first signs of growth for the 2013 vintage!
[Merlot vines, all cleaned up!]
Merlot vines, all cleaned up!
[Pruned Merlot vine.]
Pruned Merlot vine.
[Waiting for bud break!]
Waiting for bud break!
[Hoping for more rainfall this year, so far one of the driest on record.]
Hoping for more rainfall this year, so far one of the driest on record.
While Paso Robles has definitely been successful in garnering well-deserved attention for the wonderful Rhone style wines coming out of the region, by comparison, little attention has been paid to the equally excellent Bordeaux varietals that grow so well here! At Paso de Record, we currently have 45 acres planted to vines, of which 31 are Bordeaux varietals. When we finish development of an additional 30 acres, 61 of our 75 planted acres will be in that category!
[Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in Spring 2012.]
Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in Spring 2012.
We are pleased to announce that we have recently joined the Paso Robles CAB Collective. The Collective includes wineries who are passionate about growing high-quality Bordeaux varietals and making superior wine from them! There are sixteen member wineries including well known Paso Robles brands such as Justin, J. Lohr, Adelaida, Vina Robles, and Daou. We are thrilled to be involved with this wonderful group of wineries and are excited to promote the excellent Bordeaux style wines coming out of the Paso Robles region!
The first consumer event bringing the Collective members together is taking place on Saturday, April 27th at Windfall Farms in Paso Robles. This exclusive event will feature all of the wines each winery produces from Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petite Verdot). Please join us as we celebrate these wonderful wines and the stories behind them!
For tickets, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5215559880?ref=ebtnebtckt
Record Family Wine Club Members can receive $20 off with a special coupon code. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
Not a lot has changed in the vineyard in the last four weeks! I have also included some additional pictures of other events taking place right now.
Merlot vine, still in the dormancy phase.
[Cabernet Sauvignon vines to cover an acre in the existing vineyard.]
Cabernet Sauvignon vines to cover an acre in the existing vineyard.
[View of the new development with the existing vineyard in the background.]
View of the new development with the existing vineyard in the background.
We will finally start to see some significant changes next month, so stay tuned!
After 12 months in barrel, we sat down with our winemaker to blend the 2011 Randy’s Red. The wine still has two more months in barrel before it will be bottled in mid-March, but the final blend has been determined! So how did we get to the final blend?
First, our winemaker took separate samples of Syrah and Grenache. He took small samples from several barrels to get an idea of what each varietal will taste like on its own when all the barrels of that varietal are blended together. Then, we headed into the lab to start the blending trials.
[Samples in the lab.]
Samples in the lab.
We started out by tasting the 2010 Randy’s Red. Each year, we try to achieve a similar style as the previous Randy’s Red blends. It is important to us to maintain some consistency vintage after vintage. Next, we tasted each 2011 varietal on its own. Then, the fun started.
[Randy tasting 2011 wines.]
Randy tasting 2011 wines.
The first blending trial was the same as the previous vintage, 45% Syrah and 55% Grenache. The 2011 Syrah is very concentrated and intense, so we decided increase the percentage of Grenache for the next trial.
The second blending trial was 25% Syrah and 75% Grenache. While delicious, this blend lacked some of the balance that we were trying to achieve. It lost some of the deep ruby color and smokey richness by taking away so much of the Syrah.
[This was Joel Jr.'s first experience in the winery!]
This was Joel Jr.’s first experience in the winery!
The last trial was unanimously our favorite, and in my opinion closest to previous vintages profiles. We blended together 35% Syrah with 65% Grenache and achieved a balance of fruit and oak, great color, and a wonderful nose. I can’t wait to bottle this wine and share it with you all later this year!
[We are all really excited about the quality of all the 2011 wines!]
We are all really excited about the quality of all the 2011 wines!
Previous Randy’s Red Blends:
2010: 45% Syrah, 55% Grenache
2009: 33% Syrah, 67% Grenache
This year on the blog, we are going to SHOW you the growing cycle of a grapevine. We have chosen a Merlot vine to feature once a month so that our followers can get the “vineyard experience” from home!
Technically, the growing season begins in Spring with bud break, and ends with dormancy in the Winter. But it will be interesting to see how the ground, light, and vine changes through out the year from beginning to end!
Right now, the vines are still dormant. The weather is cold and many nights (and early mornings) have experienced frost this year. The roots of the vine may still be growing, but there is no visible growth of the vine at this time.
We are hoping for ample rainfall during this dormancy period so that the ground gets the water it needs without having to irrigate early in the growing season. We have planted a cover crop and have taken other measures to prevent erosion in anticipation of the rainfall!
[IMG_2920] [IMG_2922] [IMG_2923]
Check back in February for another update!
Still need some gift ideas? Not finding the perfect gift? Here are some creative DIY ideas!
Illuminated Wine Bottle
One of our wonderful wine club members made us this great illuminated wine bottle! Use an empty bottle of your favorite wine to remember it forever. It looks wonderful displayed inside and outside, from the mantle to an end table.
[IMG_2652] Find a tutorial for a similar wine bottle here.
For the entertainer on your list, make one of these sleek yet functional chalkboard platters. Perfect for displaying cheese and other snacks when entertaining!
Tutorial found here.
Glittery Wine Glasses
Ever want to add a little sparkle to your drink? With a little craft paint, transform any glass into an eye-catching, fun, conversation piece.
[IMG_2884] Get the tutorial directions here.
We hope you have a very happy holiday season!
Last year, I posted some good ideas for the wine lovers on your holiday shopping list. Here are a few more in case you need some fresh ideas!
Need to chill down a bottle of white wine quickly? Don’t want to ruin the label in an ice bucket? Want to keep the bottle out on the table instead of putting it back in the fridge to stay cool? The Corkcicle is the perfect solution! The best part is all the options there are for the top of the Corkcicle. They come in many colors, designs, you can even customize them! You can purchase through their website for about $25.
Stemless Wine Glasses
In our house, we are big fans of stemless wine glasses for everyday use. They are also great for entertaining, but I tend to use glasses with stems because they seem fancier to me. Anyone else? For our wedding we registered for Schott Zwiesel wine glasses from Pottery Barn. I love these glasses! Some of our friends even had a set monogrammed for us – great idea! You can get a set of six Schott Zwiesel stemless wine glasses from Pottery Barn for $45 (additional to have them monogrammed).
Contemporary Wine Rack
This unique leather and iron wine rack from Crate & Barrel is perfect for a person in need of a functional yet sleek wine storage system. I love that it is not the typical storage rack with individual slots. The leather will change over time giving this wine rack an individual feel. I’m sure this would look good on a counter (space permitting!) or in the corner of a room. Order online from Crate & Barrel for $119.95 + a flat rate $4.95 for shipping.
The Ultimate Wine Preserver
Need something spectacular for the wine lover who already has everything? Want to impress guests? Have a hard time finishing a bottle of wine in one sitting? This Skybar One Wine Preservation & Serving System is the perfect solution for enjoying a bottle of wine for up to 10 days. Regularly priced $600, Williams-Sonoma is offering it for only $399.95!
And finally… A couple of options from Record Family Wines!
Two bottle Gift Pack
For just $58, send the wine enthusiasts on your list one bottle of 2010 Merlot, one bottle of 2010 Randy’s Red, and a neoprene wine tote. Great for hostess gifts, corporate gifts, or anyone on your list who enjoys a great bottle of wine! Place an order before Friday, December 14th for guaranteed delivery by Friday, December 21st.
Wine Club Gift Membership
It’s the gift that keeps on giving all year-long! We now offer two options for wine club members. Each includes two shipments per year, of either 3 bottles or 6 bottles. In addition to receiving two wine club shipments, members will also receive a 20% discount on wine and merchandise and two complimentary (Estate Founders Club) or discounted (Estate Friends Club) tickets to our annual release party! Sign up someone special through the website and we will send them notification of enrollment.