Yesterday evening we headed over to Corralitos to check on progress at the Woodruff Family Vineyard. The crew has been thinning and tucking the vines after the completion of fruit set, and really we're at the point now when prime ripening gets going. The vineyard is in excellent shape and the pictures are pretty impressive.
Note the sandy/clay soil and the vine age in these pictures. The vineyard is made up of 30 year old 'suitcase' or heritage clones. These are the old style clones of Pinot Noir that have come back into style in the last two years in a huge way.
The vines are in perfect shape. Well manicured and spaced now. This is what we love to see in our vineyards. The vines are set up for perfect fruit development. We ended up dropping a lot of fruit in this first thinning. Probably a 15% reduction off the bat. Final yield will likely be 1 to 1 1/2 tons per acre.
Notice the way the sun is hitting the vines? The west side of this vineyard gets the hotter afternoon sun. We haven't done any leaf pulling yet. We'll leave the leafs as they are for the next few weeks to protect the grapes from any burn due to hot temperatures. About the last week of July we'll remove leafs from the fruit areas to expose the fruit to a little more sun. The East sides of the rows will have more leafs pulled than the West sides. This way the vines will get just a little of the hot direct afternoon sun. What we're trying to do is get dappled sunlight on the grapes, but not direct sun.
The final picture captures a large section of the vineyard. It really gives a sense of the slope of the vineyard as well as the forest near by.
We are so happy with how this is coming along. My feeling is that we'll be able to make some really great Pinot Noir from these grapes. I'm expecting a wine that will be medium colored (due to the sand in the soil) with great texture and really expressive fruit. It should be a wow wine. As in wow how did they get so much flavor in such a soft, light wine. The vineyard manager and crew are doing their jobs well, now the winemaker and winemaking crew have to keep it up. Yes those are all the same people!