We woke up this morning to a light summer fog gently blanketing the vineyards
and beyond. After the last few days of higher than usual temperatures (in the
90's), it was a welcome relief. Nonetheless, it broke early to morning
sunshine and we are now enjoying another perfect summer day here in the
Russian River Valley. We are fortunate we live in beautiful Sonoma County
where summer is really summer! Days of cool mornings (perfect for working
outdoors) followed by lazy hot afternoons and cooler evenings. It can’t get
better than this.
Last year at this time, as we kicked the dust around in the vineyards, we
were wondering when the rains might come. The drought had caused much worry
throughout the state as it hung over our heads all year long. Farmers predicted
a lighter crop last year, and it was. We were geared up for more of the same.
But thank goodness the rains came. Seems like a long time ago now, but back
then the drought and all its challenges were the main thing on our minds. All
the wonderful rainfall we received over the past winter and spring allayed
our fears. But it’s funny how fast we can forget. Could it happen again this
next winter? We hope not, but who knows? Anything goes with global warming.
As farmers all we can do is work with it, and pray.
Right now everything growing around us just seems bigger and more luscious,
the birds more plentiful and their songs cheerier. Could this be? We sure
think so. Nature seems happy again, more in tune.
Out in the vineyards the extra growth is evident for the vines are really
growing taller and faster this year than in past years. We have already
suckered, trimmed and de-leafed. A little cluster busting is in store, but we
seem to already be caught up. Overall our crop appears to be larger, and each
grape a bit more plump than in the last few years. It is developing
beautifully. We shall see the results at harvest time.
later this month we will once again witness veraison. It is definitely a
turning point in the pinot noir growing process for at that time the little
hard green berries change over the course of a week into gorgeous purple
grape clusters that cloak the vineyard rows. What exactly does the term
‘veraison’ mean? It is a french term meaning ‘the onset of ripening’. It
represents the transition from berry growing to berry ripening. It is at this
time that the grape berries start to become progressively softer and take on
the color characteristics of their specific varieties. In other words they
are on their way to harvest. Won’t be long after veraison happens. Every year
this transition is fascinating to behold!
And in the cellar our 2015 Pinot Noir is wasting no time turning into another
exceptional vintage. It always seems to be a miracle that the juice can sit
for so long (a year or more) and then transform itself into something so
different from what went into the barrel, changing from simply juice of the
grape to incredibly elegant wine. It’s wondrous! And so delicious! We will be
bottling it in August.
The inaugural vintage of our newest venture, a fabulous Russian River
designated Chardonnay, has finally reached its max in the barrel. We will be
bottling it this month. Look forward to sampling some of this crisp
refreshing Chard at our next wine club event coming in September. We can’t
wait to taste it! It should be a pleasure!
As for all of you in our wine club please remember to mark your calendars for
Sunday, September 11, 2016. Our first ever All American Harvest Barbeque
event will be happening! We are working on it now. Look forward to a fun
afternoon of fabulous wine, food, great music, dancing and mingling at Vine
Hill House. Keep your eye out for your invitation being sent out in August.
This will be a fab event! Don’t miss it!
If you are new to the wine club please remember all wine club events are free
to members plus one guest. If you are not in our wine club start enjoying
fabulous discounts on our award winning wine and free entry to exclusive
events at Vine Hill House, our private event facility at the ranch by joining
now! Just go on line to our website to the wine club page and fill out the
form. You can’t lose!
Cheers to a beautiful summer!
See you in September!
Dan and Jan and everyone at
O’Connell Vineyards and Vine Hill House
"True love is like a fine wine..."
Here is a delicious recipe we found online for a
summer BBQ that pairs beautifully with our Pinot Noir: Complements of The
3/4 cup olive oil
1 T orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T minced oregano (or 2 t dried oregano)
2 t ground cumin
salt and pepper
3 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder
(Or you can use a small boneless pork roast. Reduce all ingredients above by
1. In a food processor add all ingredients listed through garlic. Pulse until
all is finely chopped.
2. Put this mixture into a plastic ziplock bag, along with the rest of the
ingredients listed through cumin. Shake all around, then add pork.
3. Place zipped up bag in the fridge overnight, or for several hours at
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking
5. Place the pork on the rack. Discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the pork
6. Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
7. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30
minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 160.
8. Transfer to cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest at least
9. Carve against the grain and serve.