Check out this video from Presqu’ile Winery. They have a very interesting story and are already developing a name for themselves. On July 31st, they poured their Chardonnay at The Chardonnay Symposium and received excellent reviews. Click here for a recap of the symposium as well as information about Presqu’ile’s Chardonnay.
Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast wrote a post on his blog today about The Chardonnay Symposium. We’re very grateful for the extra publicity and love hearing that Chardonnay is his favorite white California varietal.
My only comment is in response to his note about the lack of quality hotels in the area. Fortunately, accommodations in Santa Maria have greatly improved over the last year. First of all, there have been many multi-million dollar renovations (Radisson, the Historic Santa Maria Inn, Holiday Inn, Rodeway Inn). Second, there are two new hotels off Broadway. One of the most drastic renovations probably is the Rodeway Inn. From the outside it looks like a motel that might not be the ideal overnight stay for a wine connoisseur. However, take a look at the photos of the inside–it’s pretty amazing. I would like to stay there myself and I live here!
Kady Fleckenstein, Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country (smvwines.com) and owner of marketing/public relations company, kadydid.
Vine growth has continued at slow to moderate pace with the cooler than normal weather and fairly frequent storms over the last 30 days. Both of these are nothing for us growers to worry about as we have needed the rainfall and with a week of warm weather the vines will easily get caught up.
The shoots in varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir range from 3 to 12 inches of growth and we can see the developing clusters emerging and separating at this stage. Cluster numbers look to be average or slightly better and we will be able to get our first yield estimate in the coming weeks. Unknown to us now through bloom and berry set is how many berries each cluster will have and how large they will be. Bloom-time weather in the Santa Maria Valley is generally good for good berry set (little shatter) so that is unlikely a problem for us. With the above normal rains we have had thus far and because we have had a good amount already in April there is a good possibility for larger than average berry size this year.
Already we can talk fruit quality when we look at weather and the possibility for larger berries. Generally, we like small berries which increases the skin to juice ratio in the fruit and therefore increases the phenolics of the juice and wine potential. Time will tell.
I hope you enjoyed this walk “in the vineyard.” Please send any comments or questions to me and I will respond as quickly as possible.
Jim Stollberg manages vineyards for Maverick Farming Company in the Santa Maria Valley. He can be reached at (805)310-9322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our earliest varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are beginning to emerge with new growth from their dormancy in mid November. The buds are between bud swell and rosette stages depending on their age, variety, and elevation.
We have been controlling weeds around the base of the vines and have begun trapping gophers. Both of these pests can do damage to the vines and compete for water and nutrients.
The last few months have been great to recharge our soils with rain water and I expect to see even, moderate growth from the vines over the next few months. This time of year is great because we get to see for the first time what the 2010 vintage may offer. As growth continues and shoots get to be about six inches long we will get our first glimpse of the clusters. Small, green and indistinguishable to most onlookers, they will emerge from the expanding tissue.
I hope everyone enjoys this time of year driving by the vineyards of the Santa Maria Valley. Mornings with overhead sprinklers running to protect from frost damage and the long vine rows with new bright green tips of growth. Enjoy the daylight hours stretching into to evening with one of our delicious Chardonnay or Pinot Noirs and we’ll keep an eye on the new fruit “in the vineyard.”
Halloween has come and gone but you still have that leftover bag of mixed Halloween candy in your cupboard. Want a great way to entertain guests without baking a dessert for the occasion? Why not use your leftover Halloween candy and pair it with wine for a truly memorable tasting? During the weeks before Halloween, Riverbench Vineyard and Winery created a candy-centric tasting menu with wine pairings in honor of Halloween. Try theirs or come up with some of your own:
2007 Bedrock Chardonnay + Lemon Starburst
The clean and refreshing tastes of the Bedrock Chardonnay brings out the crispness fruit flavor from the Starburst.
2007 Estate Chardonnay + Candy Corn
Candy corn, another seasonal treat, has a strong buttery vanilla taste and a creamy texture. The Estate Chardonnay pair well with the honey and vanilla flavors while its light oak doesn’t mask the candy corn goodness.
2006 Reserve Chardonnay + Twix or Reese’s
The rich creamy texture of the Reserve Chardonnay stands up nicely to the thick caramel or peanut butter and chocolate combo of Twix or Reese’s.
2006 Estate Pinot Noir + Caramels
If caramels are your Halloween weakness, our pairing choice for the toastiness of caramel and butterscotch is the Estate Pinot Noir. The acidity of white wines should stand up well to the sweetness of caramel.
2006 Reserve Pinot Noir + Assorted Hershey’s Miniatures or Snickers
The old standby of Halloween candy, the bag of Hershey’s miniatures, receives a fun new lease on life when it’s paired with the Reserve Pinot Noir. Because this wine is red, and thus has a slightly fuller body, it’s not overwhelmed by the chocolate, which can be difficult to pair because of its thick, mouth-coating texture. Best of all, it handles Special Dark and Krackel with equal aplomb.
October 15, 2009: The 2009 harvest season has been full of interesting weather changes. September began with record breaking heat and for many growers got harvest off to a feverish start. Prior to the heat, Pinot Noir grapes were steadily maturing and we saw mixed vine response to the heat. At some vineyards, sugar accumulation in the fruit increased rapidly while corresponding decreases in acid levels were not seen. This gave us growers and winemakers an important decision to make; can the sugar/acid levels come back into balance in the days following the heat spike or do we need to harvest before sugar levels rise beyond standard quality parameters?
Winemaker discussions I have had can be summarized with mixed results. Overall, the Pinot Noir quality looks to be good and depending on vineyard, there is potential for some outstanding wine lots now in barrel.
Chardonnay in the Santa Maria Valley coped with the heat better in most accounts than did the Pinot Noir. I have only heard exciting reports about Chardonnay wine quality and this is no surprise seeing and tasting the fruit as it left the vineyard. The Chardonnay vines were in a better condition during and following the heat, allowing growers to hang the fruit for an extended period. The increased hang time brought the fruit back into phenologic balance, and subsequently the wines are showing great character.
The recent October rains were much more of an overall benefit than detriment to us growers because of the recent drought years and in my opinion marked the virtual end to harvest. We do still have late whites and reds in the field, but the changing weather has put all remaining varieties on the harvest list.
This exciting harvest season “in the vineyard” will most surely result in some of our most impressive and anticipated wines in the bottle.
Jim Stollberg manages vineyards for Hampton and Maverick Farming Companies in the Santa Maria Valley. He can be reached at (805)310-9322 or email@example.com.
Search for any major city on the web and you will come across hundreds of blogs detailing the food and wines of that region. If you search for Santa Maria Valley wine you will discover mentions in many blogs but few blogs that focus specifically on wines from the region. The Santa Maria Valley is well known among certain circles as a premiere spot for wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Among other circles the area is best known as the home of “Santa Maria Style BBQ.”
Our goal is to provide a resource for the latest news about the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country including events, new restaurants and wineries, and the latest deals for the wine country traveller or local shopper. Just like any blog, we can use your help. If you have a great Santa Maria wine review, a terrific discount on wines, a local event to share, or if you just want to tell us about your favorite part of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country; we’ll listen. Send your news to info (at) smvwines (dot) com. For more information about the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country you can visit www.smvwines.com.