We're doing some early-summer cleaning around Gantz Family Vineyards. See one of the many tasks it takes to keep each of our 7,145 plants neat and healthy.
The pressure bomb is one of the tools I'm using to develop a more complete understanding of how our vineyard responds to water stress and irrigations. Our foliage was abundant last year, and this year we're seeking a better balance between our fruit and leaves. Monitoring the water is a good way to do that.
Spring is here, and Mother Nature is gifting us with her bounty: Our artichokes, strawberries and blueberries are all making an appearance. Unfortunately, so are the gophers. Mother Nature does not discriminate.
A common quandary in the Russian River Valley this time of year is what to do with all the persimmons? A full-grown tree can produce a lot of fruit, and all of it is ripe at the exact same time. The fruit is too precious to let it spoil -- I see small, little guys going for $2 at the local grocery store -- so here are some ideas for how you can use all that lovely fruit so it doesn't go to waste:
Currently, we have three wines percolating at Gantz Family Vineyards: a Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir, a Charles Smith Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay. While we do not sell our wines, winemaking is what led me to become a vineyard grower, and I enjoy continuing to practice and perfect this art in our recently renovated winery.
So, This year, I’m back to a winemaking style that I am familiar with from my studies at UC Davis and that I have employed with great success in the past. I am going to emphasize “clean” winemaking over “natural” winemaking, in the hopes that I can better capture that beautiful fruit in the bottle.
I understand how intimidating this scene can be to a newcomer, so I told her some things I thought were important. By important, I mean of course, important to me.
Last fall, we had the incredible opportunity to pick Pommard Pinot Noir fruit from Ted Klopp's Thorn Ridge Ranch, the same Russian River Valley vineyard where Inman Family Wines, Freeman Winery and buyers of our fruit, Kosta Browne Winery, get their grapes. We've tracked the winemaking of this fruit through the crushing, fermentation, pressing and malolactic fermentation process. Finally, last weekend, Clay was ready to do the bottling.
Spading is the oldest and most inefficient form of tillage – which includes plowing or disking – because spading was done by hand with a shovel. Now you can buy a machine to mimic the actions of hand digging. Spading is the preferred method of tillage when growing fine winegrapes.
My canning buddy, Mary Radu, suggested we use her dehydrator to dry some for use during the non-persimmon season. I went to her house, loaded with persimmons and expecting another full day of work and education. To my surprise, it was easy.