March 15, 2013
It seems as if Spring has sprung a bit early this year here on Pritchard Hill.
January 15, 2013
We are in what some would call the "slow" part of the year. The vines are asleep, the weather is cold, and it would seem that there wouldn't be too many out door activities going on...
November 27, 2012
Fall on Pritchard Hill is truly quite like no other place. Having been a resident of
the Napa valley for many years, my experience of the seasonal change has always
been from the valley floor. Here, the noise of traffic is replaced by wild turkey
gobbles (yes, a rafter of wild turkeys was foraging in front of our office for a few
days), city lights are replaced by twinkling stars and sounds of a neighborhood
are exchanged for crow caws and hawk screeches. Young deer timidly graze, as
squirrels scamper, providing tranquil midday entertainment...
October 15, 2012
One can never tire of the view on Pritchard Hill...
There's something extra special about driving the perimeter of Lake Hennessey and up the long, winding, steep road to Chappellet Winery.
October 3, 2012
Harvest 2012 - So far, a GREAT vintage!
Picking season is here on the hill. I am writing this with semi-sticky hands after we just picked our first block of reds (Merlot) here at Chappellet this morning. Merlot typically comes in first, with Cab Franc and Malbec a close second. Cabernet will be coming in in about a week or two.
In the later part of this growing season, we have seen pretty moderate temperatures without a lot of fluctuation. This has led to slow and steady ripening of all varieties...
August 6, 2012
Veraison! Veraison has arrived in the valley and seems to be moving by pretty quickly. Having 2010 and 2011 still fresh in the mind skews my perspective a bit on what is normal here in the valley. I'm often saying to myself that we are really far ahead and this year is looking great! (great: referring to early harvest and fruit quality)
I then have to remind myself that in terms of the vine's physiological processes, this year is closer to average. (in terms of degree days, [heat accumulation during the course of a growing season]. That is not to take anything away from what looks to be an extremely high quality year. It really is looking great out there!...
June 14, 2012
This seems like another appropriate time to blog about the happenings in the vineyard. We have moved from concentrating our efforts on groundwork and under vine cultivation to concentrating on the canopy. Now that our canopies here on the hill have just about filled out, its time to position them, remove shoots, and tuck all that lovely greenery into the trellis...
June 1, 2012
Visitors to the winery will see a variety of this time of year. June is a very busy month for the winemaking team. The bottling line is almost always running, as we make room for another vintage coming in the fall. While we are bottling some wines, others are being prepared for bottling throughout the month.
Most of the 2011 Chardonnay lots will be racked out of barrels this month. Racking the 2011 Chardonnays will fill the winery with the sweetest fruit and oak aromas. It is the smell of a fresh new wine that is just pure nectar. The numerous Chenin Blanc lots will be blended and prepared for bottling as well...
May 6, 2012
Its spring and things are moving!
We get pretty busy at this time of year as the vines are now in full motion. Because things are moving quickly in the vineyard, we do as well. There is a lot of ground work which includes mowing, mechanical under vine cultivation, and hand under vine cultivation...