ValleyFogBlog


July in the Vineyards – Part 1: Wentzel by Jennifer

Seasonal changes are in full effect in Mendocino County as we hit the peak of summer. Temperatures are rising, the hills have gone from green to amber, and grapes are maturing on the vines. Looking ahead to harvest, this weekend was an excellent time to check in on a few of the vineyards that Waits-Mast sources fruit from.

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Pinot Noir grapes at Wentzel Vineyard on July 22, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

When we stopped by Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley back in May, flowering had begun and we spotted some incipient berries on the vine. The vineyards were growing vigorously due to a rainy season, with long, leafy shoots sprouting off the trellises. Checking back a few months later on the morning of Saturday, July 22, things are quite different, with large clusters of green pinot noir grapes on the vines and dry grass replacing the tall, verdant blades that we saw in May.

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Dry grass at Wentzel Vineyard on July 22, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

Green leaves still blanket the vineyard, protecting the berries from the harsh mid-summer sun. There’s still a ways to go until harvest and word on the street is that this year may be a bit behind last year. After several years of early harvests, it’s possible that there may be a return towards a more “typical” pick date. But, as we’ve learned, it’s getting harder and harder to say what “normal” really is as far as harvest. Every year has its own challenges and quirks; these are some of the reasons why winemakers need to remain nimble and creative, working with the unique fruit from specific vintages.

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A glimpse at Wentzel Vineyard on July 22, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

After visiting three of our vineyard sources this past weekend, we are getting even more excited for the 2017 harvest. In the coming days, I’ll share more tales from our dusty July vineyard tromping in Mendocino County.

Soil at Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley on July 22, 2017. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

Soil at Wentzel Vineyard on July 22, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

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