Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harvest Fair Awards

Harvest Fair awards night last night and Dutcher Crossing received 2 Golds. One for our 2007 Stuhlmuller Chardonnay. Kerry loves this wine and it's his first choice of wine when he comes to the winery. Our second Gold is for the 2006 Taylor Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon-my favorite Cabernet. Yes, it's still a young wine but it will be incredible in a couple years. Unfortunately I missed Awards Night as I was a little sick but Kerry was there and kept me informed of the status via text message. Thanks for the update Kerry and great job to the Dutcher Crossing Winemakers!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Harvest Update

Harvest 2009 update as of September 17, 2009-The Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are in-just waiting on the Rousanne as it's the final component of the Sauvignon Blanc blend. Part of the Maple Zinfandel has arrived-Irma's Block to be specific. The rest of the Maple fruit will be arriving this weekend and next week. Our Costello Vineyard Chardonnay fruit arrived Tuesday-delivered by John Costello himself. I told him we'd return the fruit if it wasn't as good as the 2008 he brought me. Busy upcoming week as our Maboroshi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Stuhlmuller Vineyard Chardonnay and some of the Maple Vineyard Zinfandel arrives. Stay tuned-off to the crush pad but I'll be back soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Partners make all the Difference

Two and a half years into being the Proprietor of Dutcher Crossing, it becomes more apparent everyday that I am fortunate enough to have joined forces with the Damskeys. One of my biggest fears was finding the right combination-winemaker and owner. I hit a home run with that but I really hit a grand slam because I have the pleasure of working with Daisy Damskey-the other half of the dynamic Damskey duo too.

There are times within the industry that owners and winemakers don't see eye-to-eye. I don't know if it's an ego issue, creative differences or a combination of many things. Knowing that before I purchased the winery, it was a key factor for the success of the winery that my winemaker and I have a good working relationship with one thing in mind-striving to make Dutcher Crossing Winery and wines the best they can be. I found a good match with Kerry. Heck, my first time meeting him as the future owner, he asked what my goals were for the winery. After filling him in on my philosophy, he stated simply but with a huge smile-"Me too! This is going to be fun!"

Kerry and I hit the ground running-adding new vineyards to our vineyard designate program, planning the replant of our vineyards and developing a comprehensive package for Dutcher Crossing (which is where Daisy shines). Daisy and I teamed up to work on Dutcher Crossing's personality, concept and image. Our goal is to constantly challenge and push ourselves to improve everyday. Kerry keeps smiling during bottling as the wines keep getting better in his opinion-music to this owner's ears! Daisy has been my sounding board and mentor as I work on the Dutcher Crossing package. We are constantly bouncing ideas off each other. She gives me a different perspective on ideas/issues so I have as much information to make decisions. When I have creative thoughts I'm working through and am struck, she's the first one I call.

We've gone through some changes here at Dutcher Crossing-new wines added and the new look. It has been a nonstop adventure at full-throttle. I've had a lot of great experiences already, met a lot of new people but when I stop to think about all that's happened business wise for me over the last 2.5 yrs-I can't help but feel how lucky I am to be working with the Damskeys. Not only do we have a great business relationship and friendship but the Mathys and Damskeys are family. I cherish the past 2.5 yrs and look forward to the future.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Day of Harvest 2009

First day of Harvest 2009 begins in our Sauvignon Blanc block. Really a great step for us as this is the first taken from the Sauvignon Blanc block we planted in 2007. Came in with 24.5 Brix and nice grassy,citrus flavors and a lovely hint of honey. Our Viognier arrived with similar sugars and incredible floral characteristics. Preston Sauvignon Blanc is at the core of our Sauvignon Blanc program-it arrived through out the morning around 23.5 Brix and having it's great tropical notes showing in the fruit already.

Of course, the first day of harvest can't go perfectly. We had a slight mechanical breakdown with resulted in Wolf climbing on top of the press and shoveling in grapes from the bin Dan held with the fork lift. Good thing it cooled off a bit today and wasn't 106 degrees again.

Next fruit due in is-Maple Zinfandel! Kerry is checking sugars tomorrow and will make the call. Unless something changes-Friday 9/10 the Maple Zinfandel arrives.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bottling 2008 Stuhlmuller

Sorry for the long delay. Time just got away from me as I have been traveling and in the vineyards. However, I promise to be much better and keep everyone informed during harvest and after.

Today we finished the bottling the last 2008 Chardonnay-our 2008 Stuhlmuller Vineyard Chardonnay. Was this wine a easy road for us this year-not so much. Simply stated, the winemakers like to use indigenous yeast and that made for a slower fermentation and finish to the wine. Kerry and I work closely and make decisions based on what is right for the business as well as the wines. As we were gearing up for bottling at the end of June, he informed me that the Stuhlmuller still had some residual sugar and would be OK if we bottled now but would be better if we waited, finished the wine and bottled in September. No brainer for either of us.

The wine was being cold stabilized during August and was finally prepared for our September 3 bottling. We brought in a different bottling company for this wine-Ryan McGee and we knocked it out. Ryan McGee came in and was extremely efficient. We started with our 375ml bottles (first time we have done splits with any wine other than Port) and polished off the remaining 690 cases of the 750ml by noon. A good day right before harvest starts.

The wine has great color, structure and flavors-winemakers really love this! All of the 2008 Chardonnays are great so stay tuned for when they're released.