Another vintage is officially underway in beautiful Amador County and all signs are pointing to another high quality year. We have been blessed with four very good years here, and 2016 is shaping up to be another exceptional year. The season began with a longer than normal bloom in the vineyards, and apart from our typical July heatwaves, growing conditions have been ideal with daytime highs in the mid 90’s and nighttime temperatures in the upper 50’s. Simply put, Mother Nature has blessed us with optimal conditions for world class wines!
Harvest started with a small amount of Viognier on Wednesday, August 17th, which is about 11 days later than last year. The current weather pattern shows a bit of a cooling trend which will help tremendously with obtaining optimal physiological ripeness.
In the cellar, we finished bottling the 2014 vintage in June and are very pleased with all the new wines. The 2014 Vineyard Designates are stunning, and each of them are inherently unique just like the terroir of Amador County. One of the new wines that has yet to be released, the 2014 Grand Reserve Barbera, is a true show stopper if I don’t say so myself! Aged for 14 months in a brand new, 3000L untoasted French Oak cask, this is the purest Barbera we’ve ever made. It is silk-smooth, edgeless and unmistakably a true Barbera in every way possible. Only 50 cases were made!
We strive daily in our unrelenting quest for the perfect wine and to make sure each wine exhibits our high quality standards which always emphasizes freshness, vitality and drinkability. This is the winemaking philosophy we live by.
My letters never completely express our sincere gratitude to each and every one of our Members and guests. At Renwood, we are genetically programmed to make the best wines that we possibly can, to provide the best guest experiences, and to wholeheartedly be grateful that we get to share our hard work with you.
As the new wines quietly age in our cellars, we have already begun the process of working on the new 2014 blends that will be bottled in the next several months. This process takes us on a journey from barrel to barrel as we taste, making notes about the nuances of each wine and how we think each one can integrate, age and blossom in the bottle. The blending we do here is tedious, where a 1% addition of one wine can dramatically affect the outcome of the final product. Needless to say, we take this very seriously! After all, we absolutely love this part of our job and we are hypervigilant when it comes to the texture of our wines. I always say, “A wine has to feel as good as it tastes”…it must be a complete experience and we strive to bring this matrix to every wine we make.
I’ve been asked recently how the rain we’ve received so far will affect the growing season and harvest that is coming. The rain this year has been fairly spread out giving the ground and vines a chance to soak it all in. What we do not want to see, is a huge amount of rain after bud break as well as when the fruit begins to develop on the vines. For now, the precipitation we’ve received is more than welcome! In perspective, Amador County where the winery is, we get between 31-40 inches of rain in each season and since November 1st of 2015 we’ve already tallied about 21 inches putting us ahead of the average…for now.
In the vineyards, pruning has begun and will continue for the next few weeks. We are very excited once again to see the results of years of hard work in the fields nurturing the vines so that they have the best chance possible to produce world class fruit. Did you know that we own and operate about 180 acres of vineyards here in Amador? They are mostly Zinfandel but we also grow Barbera, Petite Sirah and Sangiovese.
NEW WINE ALERT:
In the next couple months keep an eye out for the release of the 2014 Grand Reserve Barbera. This beauty was aged in a brand new 3000L French Oak Cask and it is a wine that we are very, very excited to share with you. It is silky smooth and bursting with a purity of fruit that is a joy to experience. Only 50 cases are going to be produced!
Also, coming down the track will be the first Sangiovese that we have bottled in over a decade. This wine is now maturing in 500L French Oak puncheons and we are monitoring it closely so that we can capture the exact moment when we think it should be bottled and shared.
As always, I cannot express enough gratitude to our loyal fans. We truly believe that each person that walks through our doors or supports us where ever they may be, that you are family and we do what we do for you. Our dedicated winemaking team is fully committed to making the best wines we can in every little thing we do from the day the fruit arrives here at the winery to the day we bottle. We love this stuff and sincerely thank you for being a part of our family.
Joe Shebl, Director of Winemaking