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Winemaker & Vineyard Blog 

Enjoy our blog posts as we chronicle with Derek Irwin the making of our fine Sierra Foothill wines and the development of our vineyard at the Seminary and Novitiate of the Oblates of St. Joseph in Loomis.

 

Peter Story
 
May 27, 2017 | Peter Story

Long Days in the Vineyards

The vineyard development at the Mount is well underway yet I still need to take care of the 2017 harvest in my vineyard.

The Aglainico and Negro Amaro vines need t be protected against mildew.  Beginning at 5:30 a.m. I'm able to treat 1/2 of the vineyard before I get over to our vineyard at the Mount to open the gate to begin today's development.

Tomorrow is another day....5:30 a.m. to spray the other half of the vineyard for mildew and then back over to the Mount vineyard for another full day of development.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra.........a farmer's day is never over until it's over!

Time Posted: May 27, 2017 at 6:49 AM Permalink to Long Days in the Vineyards Permalink Comments for Long Days in the Vineyards Comments (219)
Peter Story
 
May 19, 2017 | Peter Story

Volunteers Help with Our Vineyard

Two of the questions I've been hearing constantly over the past few months are....When will the vineyard work begin? and.... Can I help?

Well, the answer to the first question is now!  As you saw in yesterday's blog post, marking the end post locations is being done with the actual end post installation happening next week.

The second question is answered with the photo below.  Already Bob Vandervort has taken the "Can I help" message to heart.  Here he is cleaning out the ditch water so our new pump station will be free and clear of debris from this year's massive amount of rain fall.

Not only is Bob cleaning out the canal, he (along with Allen Cummings and Mike Jones - two other Mount Saint Joseph Wines owners) are working on plans to construct a shelter from our new pump station.  See the second photo as the three of them get started on this project.

This is truly an exciting time - check back often to this website and keep up with our progress over the coming weeks!

Time Posted: May 19, 2017 at 9:26 AM Permalink to Volunteers Help with Our Vineyard Permalink Comments for Volunteers Help with Our Vineyard Comments (1506)
Peter Story
 
May 18, 2017 | Peter Story

Vineyard Work Begins in Earnest - Vine End Post Locations Mapped and Staked

Jamie Rojas, owner of 2nd Generation Development out of Napa, is seen here on site with his crew.  They are mapping out the placement of 278 ten foot vine end posts for the vine rows in the vineyard.  These vine end posts will be driven some 4 1/2 feet into the earth!  Think of them as the "foundation" for the vineyard.

In the second photo - Jaime marks out where the Boardman Canal (aka "ditch water") conduit runs underground so that we don't hit during construction and flood the vineyard and our neighbors!

Time Posted: May 18, 2017 at 9:33 AM Permalink to Vineyard Work Begins in Earnest - Vine End Post Locations Mapped and Staked Permalink Comments for Vineyard Work Begins in Earnest - Vine End Post Locations Mapped and Staked Comments (227)
Peter Story
 
May 17, 2017 | Peter Story

Sierra Foothill (red label) Zinfandel is Yucky?

Recently Joe relayed some feedback from a few of you that was disturbing.  After opening and tasting the 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfadel, a few of you said it was "Yucky".

I told Joe..."Yucky - what do you mean, yucky????".  This wine was great when we bottled it back in February!

So Derek and I decided to taste it last Thursday.....and, sure enough, it was yucky.  Perplexed at the difference in taste between bottling in February and the present, we decanted the wine and let it alone for 20 minutes and tasted it again.  This time the middle pallet was coming back with the fruit that we had remembered from bottling time.  We then tasted four hours later....now, that was more like it!  Finally, later that night at dinner I had a glass with the short ribs Paulette had made - "yucky" wine had become great wine.

We have pulled the 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel off the market for now and we will release it again in September.  The additional four months of bottle aging will allow the complex elements in the wine that have become disjointed to recombine.  For those of you who have a bottle from your February wine club shipment, here are your options:

  1. If you haven't opened the wine, lay it down until October/November and then open and decant and enjoy!
  2. If you have opened the wine and it tasted "yucky", let me or Joe know and we'll get you a new bottle and you can follow #1 above

While I won't go into detail about the business reasons for releasing this wine sooner than we ordinarily would, we have learned from the experience and will now follow the words of Orson Welles (Paul Masson ad circa 1979):

"We will sell no wine before its time"

 

Time Posted: May 17, 2017 at 9:34 AM Permalink to Sierra Foothill (red label) Zinfandel is Yucky? Permalink Comments for Sierra Foothill (red label) Zinfandel is Yucky? Comments (101)
Peter Story
 
February 13, 2017 | Peter Story

Proud Father of Our 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel

It is February 2017 - time to begin the bottling the very first our 2015 harvest grapes.

Last week we bottled the first of our new "Sierra Foothills" wines, specifically our 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel.  We have created a Zinfandel blend that is truly unique.  It is deep in tannin structure with an extensive middle pallet and a long finish that will beg the question - "how did they make that from Foothills grapes???".

While we won't release this incredible Zin until early April, Joe convinced me to include it in our wine club orders later this month.  In fact, I might just bring a few bottles for sampling to our "Fat Tuesday" wine club dinner at La Fornaretta later this month.  So, if you want to try it now, join one of our wine clubs!

The balance of our 2015 harvest wines will be bottled in the May.  The photo below shows our 2015 wines spending their last few months aging in French oak barrels.  Get ready for the summer and fall release of these outstanding wines...I know you are going to love them.  Trust me, they will be worth the wait.

If you think I sound like a very proud father.....well, yes – I am!

Time Posted: Feb 13, 2017 at 8:21 AM Permalink to Proud Father of Our 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel Permalink Comments for Proud Father of Our 2015 Sierra Foothills Zinfandel Comments (1880)
Peter Story
 
November 18, 2016 | Peter Story

Vineyard Development Continues

While we had planned for irrigation trenching and PVC piping to be completed by now, the early fall rains have changed our schedule a bit.  This is not a problem - we have plenty of time between now and next Spring. 

The engineers from Toma Associates spent Thursday laying out the rows and plant spacing so our irrigation contractor can bring in the back-hoe and lay the main PVC irrigation lines as well as the risers to feed the black drip tubes.  While the drip tubes will be installed next year, if the rains can hold off until after Thanksgiving, we'll trench for the main PVC irrigation lines early next week.

Off for now...........Joe and I wish all of you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Time Posted: Nov 18, 2016 at 12:01 PM Permalink to Vineyard Development Continues Permalink
Peter Story
 
September 21, 2016 | Peter Story

Que Syrah, Syrah!

Forgive the corny Doris Day inspired title to this blog - that was Joe's idea.

Our 2016 Syrah is now fermenting away.  The brix level started at 24.8 and is now at 6.3 brix.   We have about four days to go before we let it macerate in the fermentation bins to extract even more tannins and classic syrah flavors.  This will be a very jammy Syrah.

I look forward to this wine be a key part of the 2016 Marello blend.  It will also be a stand-alone varietal offering as well - maybe an early release next year.

Stay tuned as I continue to keep you updated on our 2016 harvest and winemaking.....off for now!

Time Posted: Sep 21, 2016 at 4:36 PM Permalink to Que Syrah, Syrah! Permalink
Peter Story
 
July 28, 2016 | Peter Story

Preview - Our 2009 Syrah Dessert Wine Will Be Released Soon

Peaches and Dessert Syrah - Delicious!

OK - the cat is out of the bag....many of you have asked if we will ever offer a dessert wine.... the answer is an emphatic "Yes!".  With the addition of a wonderful 2009 Syrah Dessert Wine to our Mount Saint Joseph portfolio of wines - you will now be able to finish your meal or your evening with this delightful wine.  The photo below is of me enjoying a nice bowl of fresh white peaches with our new dessert wine drizzled on the top.....wow, the taste is delicious.  I must admit though, the combination was Paulette's idea, not mine.

I heartily invite all of you to follow suit and try your own summer dessert with this great Syrah Dessert wine.

Stay tuned - we'll let you know as soon as it is available!


 

Time Posted: Jul 28, 2016 at 7:40 AM Permalink to Preview - Our 2009 Syrah Dessert Wine Will Be Released Soon Permalink
Peter Story
 
July 26, 2016 | Peter Story

Update from the Vineyard - Countering Powdery Mildew

Attention to Detail Means Optimal Fruit at Harvest

Our vineyards up in Grass Valley have been hit with an unusual degree of "Powdery Mildew” this season….Powdery Mildew is a common condition in vineyards throughout the world but.... In speaking with Derek Irwin, our consulting winemaker from Napa, it seems that this problem is rampant in Napa, Sonoma, Placer and El Dorado counties… The best we can do is stay on an every 2 –to- 3 week regiment in spraying with systemic sulfur and drop the damaged clusters so as to limit the infestation. By the way.....the application of sulfur is an organically acceptable and sustainable method of treatment.

The photo below shows me at the vineyard (like my stylish boots?), lending a hand in dropping fruit. This attention to detail will insure that the fruit we get at harvest will be of the highest quality.

 

Time Posted: Jul 26, 2016 at 8:26 AM Permalink to Update from the Vineyard - Countering Powdery Mildew Permalink
Peter Story
 
July 1, 2016 | Peter Story

MSJ Wines Debut at Source Global Tapas Restaurant in Granite Bay

Former Spago and Roy's chef, Irie Gengler, is impressed with Mount Saint Joseph wines........

Presenting our wines to a world class restaurateur is always exciting (with a note of anxiety)… what will he/ or she think???   Since food and wine is their world – what will they think of the wines we have crafted (and are so proud of)??   Will they buy them???

Well, Joe Smock and I had our first entrée into this important part of our company’s business plan.  A few weeks ago we shared our wines with ‘Source Tapas’ chef/ owner – Irie Gengler.  Source Tapas is an incredible gathering place for the Granite Bay. Loomis and Roseville customers who want to sample ‘small plates’ and have many taste sensations to play with the wines they select.,

After the tasting Irie elected to carry our wines.  Source Tapas will be the first (of many we hope) local restaurants who will proudly serve Mount Saint Joseph Wines.  You will be able to pair our ‘Marello’,,, Zinfandel,,, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines with Source Tapas extensive menu.

Check them out.  Source is in Quarry Ponds – 5540 Douglas Blvd., Suite 110, Granite Bay.  Telephone Number:  916-772-3900 .

 

Time Posted: Jul 1, 2016 at 3:53 PM Permalink to MSJ Wines Debut at Source Global Tapas Restaurant in Granite Bay Permalink Comments for MSJ Wines Debut at Source Global Tapas Restaurant in Granite Bay Comments (538)