Sustainable management of our water usage in the vineyard has never been more important. Year to date we have only received about 1/3 of our average rainfall. I fully expected the need for an early start to our vineyard irrigation this season but thus far, our soil moisture levels have been adequate to sustain our vines up until this point in the season. Due to our modern and sustainable approach of measuring the soil moisture via probes in the vineyard, as well as measuring the stress levels in our vines using a special test which quantifies the degree of stress, we’ve been able to hold off on irrigating until absolutely necessary. This approach saves thousands of gallons of water per year and our grape quality at harvest is higher because the vineyard has not been over watered. For us, this is truly a win – win situation, establishing water conservation while ensuring balanced vines.
The vineyard team has been busy “leafing”, a process related to removing excess leaves on the vine. Our vines are orientated north/south so for us we remove the leaves on the “morning side” or the east side of the vines. This gives the morning sunlight a chance to dry out the dew that forms on the grapes overnight and is a natural way to prevent fungus growth. We don’t remove the leaves on the west or “afternoon side” because they protect the grapes from excessive afternoon heat with the shade they provide.
An exciting development in the vineyard has been the onset of veraison! Veraison can be simply put as to when the grapes begin to change color. This is the beginning of the transition into the final ripening stages. Both red and white grapes go through this transition, but the color change is much more dramatic in reds such as our Pinot Noir. Along with the color change the grapes begin to soften which you can feel to the touch. The green berries are very firm but after going through veraison a gentle squeeze will break them open to reveal the juice and seeds.
Veraison in the Pinot Noir block
The start of veraison is always an exciting period in the vineyard. It’s a sign for us to start focusing our attention on the upcoming harvest. After version starts it can be ~30-50 days before harvest depending on conditions. This year veraison started about 10 days later than “normal” which would indicate a later than “normal” harvest date. Over the past decade we’ve seen a harvest window of mid to late August to mid to late September. Mid- August would be considered early, and late September would be considered late. Right now, we are tracking for the first or second week of September which is on the later side of the curve. However, with farming timelines in growing can easily change, but we will be ready for whatever happens!
Our Newly Bottled 2020 River Road Reserve Chardonnay
With harvest quickly approaching, it’s imperative to get the bottlings of our 2020 vintage wines wrapped up. I am excited to unveil our latest bottling of the 2020 River Road Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay. The wine is extremely vibrant, with hints of vanilla and fresh pears, it’s a full-bodied Chardonnay with a finish that is long and clean. To me it’s a classic representation of a cool climate Russian River Valley Chardonnay. With those already familiar with this wine, you may notice a newly changed label design as well!
On behalf of the entire team here at Ron Rubin Winery, we wish you all continued good health!