New Barrels

July 30, 2012

 

 

 

Another sure sign that harvest is coming is the arrival of our new barrels. This morning, we picked up four new French Oak barrels from the warehouse in Fairfield.

These barrels are from a French cooper called Ermitage. The paper and cardboard is to protect them from scuffing and light impacts during shipping across the Atlantic. These barrels are destined to be used in the Chardonnay and the Cuvee Alis.

Ermitage allows us to specify which forest we would like the oak to come from for each barrel. It may sound surprising, but the forest that the tree comes from has a subtle but definite effect on the profile of the wine stored in the barrel. In this case, we chose two barrels from Nevers, one from Troncais, and one from Bertranges.

In other news, veraison is progressing rapidly, especially in China Bowl and Montana Vista.

A week ago there was virtually no veraison in China Bowl, and now we’re closing in on being 5% through. Exciting times!

Be sure to check back to see what we’re up to next!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

 

Gearing up for harvest!

July 27, 2012

 

 

 

We’re still over a month away from receiving any fruit, but we believe in planning ahead. Today we received this years’ shipment of yeast!

This year we are planning to use three different kinds of yeast, each with it’s own properties that make it ideal for the various situations we will face when planning our fermentations.

We’re fortunate to be small enough that our entire yeast supply can fit into a little cardboard box, this makes keeping our supplies organized and tidy a simple task. Be sure to check back soon to see what else we’re doing to prepare!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

 

Everything is Growing!

July 25, 2012

You may recall that, in addition to the Grenache, we budded over some Mourvedre earlier this year. Mourvedre is a ‘late’ variety, meaning that it generally starts growing a little later in the year than other varieties. While the Grenache (an ‘earlier’ variety) started to grow pretty quickly after budding, the Mourvedre took a long time to really take off. The weather has been very warm and sunny lately (though not overly hot), and so now we’re finding that the Mourvedre has fairly exploded out of the gate.

A few short weeks ago most of these shoots were barely two feet long. This kind of rapid growth seems to be typical of this vintage, which started late but has moved quickly since.

Another indicator of how fast things are developing this year is the rapid onset of veraison.

This cluster is from the China Bowl block at the foot of the property. Most of the grapes in China Bowl are not this far along yet, but we feel it won’t be long before they catche up.

It’s still to early to know for sure, but we may be looking at an early harvest, be sure to check back to see what’s happening!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

 

 

 

Well, it just keeps on happening, here’s another great review for our 2009 Monte Rosso Zinfandel!

“SRP: $36. A beautiful Zinfandel. Fresh-from-the-farm cherries, perfume, wild blackberries, and sweet Asian spices. While proudly ripe, this wine isn’t in your face. The palate is lush and balanced. (91 pts.)”

Thanks for the accolades!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

 

 

July 20, 2012

This week we have reached an important milestone for the vintage; veraison.

Veraison is a French term that translates (roughly) to ‘color change’. It is the point at which the young, green berries begin to soften and change color, it marks the beginning of the ripening process and reminds us that harvest is not that far away.

Almost all of the veraison we’re seeing so far is from the Montana Vista block of Cabernet Sauvignon. The number of purple berries to be found on the property at present is still relatively small, but it is growing quickly every day. This is actually a little earlier in the year than we would normally see veraison. The weather this season has been near ideal for the vines, warm enough to stimulate growth but not so hot that the vines become stressed. It’s still too soon to predict an early harvest, but this weather makes us optimistic that, early or not, the wine from this vintage will be fantastic!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

Most of our grafted Grenache shoots have done pretty well, and now we’re ready to start shaping them for next year.

As you can see, most of these shoots are pretty large. A few of them are still too small to position, we will come back through and get them a little later in the season.

The problem is that all of the shoots are trying to grow vertically, while we need them to grow horizontally along the middle trellis wire.

These vines will be spur-pruned, so we need this years shoots to grow like this, right along the trellis wires, where they will form next years ‘arms’.

We use a special kind of tape to hold the shoots in place.

This tape is not sticky, instead it is very elastic, but it maintains its’ strength as it stretches. This allows the shoots to grow without breaking the tape.

The Grenache and the Mourvedre are both looking great, we’re looking forward to the day we can use these grapes in the Cuvee Alis!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

Fixing Irrigation Lines

July 13, 2012

 

 

 

One of the many constant tasks we face in the vineyard is maintaining our irrigation system. The most common problem we face is leaking from the driplines themselves.

The water, as you can see, is under fairly high pressure. Sometimes a drip emitter breaks or pops out because of the pressure, or sometimes coyotes will come and chew the lines open to get at the water inside (we have a family with kits living not far from this spot).

Leaks can end up wasting a lot of water, not to mention over-irrigating the spots around them in the vineyard. We have to constantly be on the lookout for leaks so we can plug them right away.

The first step is to shut off the water and cut out the damaged section of line.

Once the damaged section is out, we get a ‘coupling’ to hold the two cut ends together.

The inside of the coupling has beveled edges that use the pressure of the water to hold the ends of the irrigation line in place.

Finally, we stick the ends of the line into the coupling, and turn the water back on!

The line is actually a little bit larger than the openings to the coupling, so it takes some work to get the coupling in place. Once it’s on, you should see no more leaks!

Eventually we will install another drip emitter near this coupling, but for now the soil underneath it has more water than it needs so we’ll wait for it to dry out some first.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

July 12, 2012

 

 

 

Many thanks to the Earthwine blog for profiling us on their list of environmentally friendly wineries! This is a pretty good little summary of how we look at what we do. Normally on our own blog we try to give you the details of what it is that we do, as opposed to the philosophy behind it, and so we would recommend clicking through and checking it out to gain a little perspective on what you read here!

Earthwine blog – Amapola Creek

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

Topping

July 11, 2012

 

 

While most of our efforts are focused on the vineyard right now, there is still some work to be done inside the winery. This week, we are topping again.

Our barrels are stacked high enough that they cannot all be topped from the ground. To reach the barrels at the top, we use this rolling staircase. The alternative is to either use a ladder (dangerous) or to unstack the barrels (time consuming). The staircase is ideal in trms of safety and convenience.

Getting up to the level of the highest barrels is only part of the problem. Since these barrels are so much higher, it takes a lot more pressure to push the wine up to them. The person doing the topping has to constantly adjust the gas pressure being applied to the topping wine, making sure it is high enough to reach the upper barrels, but not so high that it sprays wine everywhere. 

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Yet more praise for the 2009 Monte Rosso Zinfandel!

July 9, 2012

 

 

 

This really has been a fantastic couple of weeks for us in terms of reviews! This time, our 2009 Monte Rosso Zinfandel was listed as the Wine of the Week by  Brian Freedman of The Goodlife Report;

” This boasts a rich cherry liqueur and wild-berry cobbler nose, with warm Tahitian vanilla, caramel, flowers, black peppercorns, and exotic spices, cardamom chief among them. On the palate, this remarkably elegant wine sings of red cherry and black and red raspberry, summertime blueberry, pie crust, toast, vanilla, spice, and cedar, with a hint of sandalwood on the finish. Complex and rich yet never ponderous, it’s an exceptionally lively bottling with elegance and depth to spare, and promises to drink very well through 2022. Not that you’ll be able to wait that long. ”

You can read the full article here, we would also recommend browsing through the rest of The Goodlife Report, as it has a number of interesting articles and reviews.

It’s great to hear so many nice things about our wines, we work very hard on them and so the validation is music to our ears!

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

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