Wednesday, August 10, 2016


A good wine begins in the vineyard! The 2016 growing season, as with 2015 season, has been extraordinary for the grapes. As I write this currently the Syrah is about 50% into Veraison which is the softening and purpling of the grapes. The other varieties are just starting Veraison which is earlier than normal corresponding to a harvest which will begin probably Sept 10th and run a month to 6 weeks depending upon variety and ripeness.

We have finished netting the grapes as both the Brewster site and the Othello site lie in heavily populated aviary areas. We also have to tie the nets shut at the bottom as the birds have an uncanny ability to find any opening to procure their precious grapes.

In any rows in the past where we did not net up, the grapevines were gleaned clean. The nets don’t help with the black bears in Brewster, however, as they use their long fingernails to meticulously pick each and every berry through the nets. They only skirt the outlying rows however, so I tolerate their hard work and enthusiasm as they truly appreciate Silent Owl grapes.

The sugars are just breaking the teens at 12-13 brix. The final sugars should be a measure of 22 to 26 brix and they will gain about 2 points per week for the next couple of weeks and then slow down somewhat.

The varieties mature at different dates which I am thankful for so that not all harvest, crush, etc. has to be done at the same time. Chronologically we have historically picked in the following order:

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon

I'm looking for a sugar level of 24-26 and medium texture brown seeds with little to no shrivel. This gives me what I need for wines with good structure without being overbearingly ripe or alcoholic.

Note, this year, if all goes well I will be trying a Cabernet Franc Rosé. I will process them the same as the Roussanne which is to whole cluster press them lightly, discard the skins and ferment the juice slow and cold (around 55 degrees).

I’m excited to get going into harvest and plan to keep you updated. Need wine for Labor Day? Our 2014 wines are available now.