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Harvest in Green Valley

by Joy Sterling | Published September 14, 2020

Cultivating Resilience in Sonoma County

Dear Friends and Family, I hope this finds you and yours all healthy and safe. Much has happened here in Green Valley:

We wrapped up harvest two weeks ago. Fortunately, we got in most of our fruit before the fires.

We went into the vintage feeling it was going to be our best. Our optimism was sky high. We were so sure of success that we dedicated the vintage to my father.

We now have thrown in some caveats: like the August lightning storms, subsequent wildfires and smoke amid Covid. The choreography of harvest was no mean feat and my brother deserves kudos for serving as unrelenting taskmaster about masks and social distancing, But, bottom line, we are very happy with what we have in barrel for Pinot Noir …. and the 12 delicious lots which will make up the various base wines for Sparklings. Blending trials will begin next month.

Our start date was very early, August 10, but not our earliest. Our earliest was 2015, which began August 8. ’15 was a very short crop … yet very delicious. 2020 is also a short crop and common wisdom says small production can lead to higher quality.

The big question for the vintage is smoke taint, which is certainly a problem for growers and wineries, but you as a consumer have no worries. And that’s because, as Esther Mobley reported in the SF Chronicle, the top wineries are not going to release damaged wine as a matter of trust. We had the added advantage of the marine layer, which held much of the ash aloft. (Click here for the article)

For us, the operative word for this vintage is resilience. It is something we have learned to cultivate in Sonoma County. We are going to name a new cuvée for it, which we hope to have ready for New Year’s Eve.

I hope you are following us on Facebook Live every Friday at 3pm when we offer a toast to the end of the week. If you are like us, you deserve a toast come 3pm Friday. I really enjoy doing them. They are mercifully short. About 3 minutes of clock time, providing a snapshot of our week, what we are talking about and what we are drinking. With all that is going on, we must celebrate every moment of enjoyment and gratitude we can.  You do not have to be on the dot. You can replay them at will, by going to our Facebook Page. I would love to get your feedback.

ICYMI, we have two new releases: Our 2011 Brut LD, which is really all I want to drink these days and our 2016 Harvest Moon, which has an amazing spicy quality and is perfect for toasting the full moon October 1.

We are thrilled that our friends at Commander’s Palace are open and serving Commander’s Palace Cuvee.

Our hearts are with our magnificent firefighters and first responders … and all of you. Stay safe and healthy.

Joy