The 2010 Napa Uncovered Calendar is now available. From their website:”it is a 12 month calendar featuring Napa Valley farmers and ranchers as you have never seen them. The proceeds from this cleverly revealing calendar will support the efforts of Napa County Farm Bureau to protect the agricultural land that provides a high quality of life for all rural and urban citizens of Napa County.”
I’d like to support the Farm Bureau, but am not sure I am secure enough to start using the calendar.

The first shipments of 2006 Baconbrook started shipping this week and I thought I would take a moment to give you some background on this vineyard.
Baconbrook was our second vineyard. We purchased it a couple of years after Butterdragon. It sits on a 40 acre parcel we bought in 2003 from the founders of Oakford Vineyards. They planned the vineyard and it was planted by, and continues to be maintained by, Pina Vineyard Management. Our original goal was NOT to purchase another vineyard — remember this was before we’d ever released a bottle of wine and our last thought was to have more wine to sell — but we really liked the property and wanted the bigger house. The Baconbrook vineyard was a bonus. And oh, what a bonus.
When Cary Gott, our winemaker, saw the Baconbrook vineyard, he gave a little excited exclamation and assured us that we were really going to love that little vineyard. In fact, he told us we would have trouble letting it go if we ever decided to sell the property. (Initially Baconbrook was going to be a temporary investment.) He urged us to make wine from it.
Flash forward to now… Baconbrook is 2 3/4 acres planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon clone 337. Root stock is 101-14. Pina tells me that they urged the original owner to use a different, drought resistant root stock but he insisted on 101-14 for the quality. It makes a tasty wine, but we’re always worried about getting enough water to the young vines. We had a very small harvest in 04, less than 3 tons but since that time, we’ve discovered that this vineyard can eek out ~6 tons with careful farming.
It is officially Spring Mountain District but that can be misleading since most people think of the wineries up Spring Mountain Road (Barnett, Pride, etc) when they think Spring Mountain. The vineyard sits on a ridge west of St Helena overlooking the town. You can see it from Spottswood and Madrona Ave. Each vintage has had this really big complex character. You feel like you need to brush your teeth after trying the wines when young. Cary’s opinion is that Baconbrook’s wines seem more like Howell Mountain than Spring Mountain. We age Baconbrook longer in barrel than we do Butterdragon — 26 months versus 22. This wine is a monster, but a nice one. If I was to compare to Butterdragon, I’d say Butterdragon is a feminine wine, a romantic embrace from a sophisticated lady. Baconbrook is a wild man, a rogue with rough edges who speaks 5 languages. Most everyone except me has a favorite between the two but there’s no clear consensus. I could never choose.
2006 is the third release from Baconbrook. Production is expected to hover around 200 cases most years. Baconbrook’s label is like the Butterdragon label except instead of blue, it is a rusty red. Baconbrook’s coordinates: 38 29’33.67″N, 122 29’41.71″W. Just paste those coordinates into Google Maps and see Baconbrook from above.
The photos in this post are of some modifications we made this past season to the irrigation drip system. Water is scarce up there and each year our well is not quite up to the task. By the end of the summer, we’re buying truckloads of water. Conservation is important. This year we drilled holes down into the root system of each vine and placed the emitter directly down near the roots. We started with a test of about a 1/3 of the vineyard. The test was successful. We needed much less water in that section as we lose far less water to surface evaporation. We plan to do the rest of the vineyard this winter.

We harvested yesterday at Butterdragon Hill. We brought in just over 6 tons for our own crush. The fruit looked wonderful. Mild weather really paid off and rewarded patience. It was time to bring it in though… rain is in the forecast for next week. My camera was a bit late to the party, but here are a few pics:

What a great day! We started harvest at 6:45 this morning. Temperature was about 57. The crew jumped right to work and by 11 were just about done. The temperature by then might have been 70. So much for the feared and predicted heat storm. The grapes were down at Bin to Bottle for crushing by 11:30 and, as they only had one other vineyard scheduled to come in today, we didn’t have to wait. Crush began and was over by 2. Sometimes everything just works according to plan.
Bins were coming in light, but the fruit looked and tasted great. Our ten full 1/2 bins weighed 4.2 tons which means we will probably end up with 225-250 cases of 2009 Baconbrook. Of course, it will be a long time until that starts reaching you. Look out for the fruit of today’s labor in October 2012.

Winemaker Cary Gott

We estimate the juice will soak out to about 25.5 brix.
Additional pictures of harvest and the crush are on our Facebook Page.

The “heat” wave was a none event. St Helena was in the low 90’s today while they expected it to be at least 10 degrees hotter. Everything came through fine. Tomorrow we harvest Baconbrook. Below are the numbers from Tuesday at Butterdragon Hill.

  9/22 9/16 9/8 8/31
CS 337 25.2 24.4 23.4 na
CS 7 24.8 23.8 23.4 na
CS 15 24.2 23.4 22.6 na
ME 181 24 23.6 23.4 22.2

7AM Saturday 9/19
Brix 25.1
Ph 3.52
TA 0.57
Irrigated in prep for the expected heat wave.

Our winemaker, Cary Gott, just walked Baconbrook (Spring Mountain District) and reports “the vineyard and the vines are in great shape with many basel leaves browning but most bunches are firm.” We are penciling in harvest for next Wednesday.
Block Var Brix
1 CS 23.8
2 CS 24.5

Brix is climbing slowly, which we like, at Butterdragon (St Helena AVA) but it is supposed to get hotter this weekend and next week. I really wouldn’t be surprised if we suddenly decide to harvest next week.
Cab clone 337
9/16 – 24.4 (9/8 – 23.4)
Cab clone 7
9/16 – 23.8 (9/8 – 23.4)
Cab clone 15
9/16 – 23.4 (9/8 – 22.6)
Merlot clone 181
9/16 – 23.6 (9/8 – 23.4, 8/31 – 22.2)

winemaker Cary Gott walked Butterdragon today… says the fruit is the best he’s seen in the Valley this year and expects a bountiful (bigger than expected) crop… sugars will be done tomorrow. Numbers may be up but flavors aren’t there yet. Baconbrook may harvest next week.

Cabernet Sauvignon clone 337 = 23.4
CS clone 7 = 23.4
CS clone 15 = 22.6
Merlot clone 181 = 23.4 (was 22.2 on 8/31)

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3060 White Sulphur Springs Rd
St Helena, CA 94574
t: (707) 200-3510
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