ValleyFogBlog


July in the Vineyards: Part Two – Mariah Vineyards by Jennifer
July 31, 2017, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Vineyards | Tags: , , ,

On Sunday, July 23, we trekked up to Mendocino Ridge to take a look at the progress of the fruit at Mariah Vineyards, another vineyard that we source from for Waits-Mast Family Cellars. It was a rough, nearly hour-long journey there from Anderson Valley, as the mountain road was full of cracks and pot holes. One stretch narrowed to one lane, as a portion of the road had been washed out during the rainy year. While a harrowing ride for us city-dwellers, the beautiful and delicious grapes at Mariah’s 2400 foot elevation vineyard are well worth the trip.

Mariah Vineyards on July 23, 2017. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

Mariah Vineyards on July 23, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

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New in the Cellar: 2016 Sauvignon Blanc by Jennifer

We’ve always said that Waits-Mast Family Cellars ONLY produces pinot noir, but that’s not entirely true. We love white wines and have been toying with the idea of expanding our repertoire for awhile, even dabbling in micro batches. Those non-pinot noir forays in 2009 and 2014 led to two interesting wines that were crafted for us by other talented winemakers.

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Waits-Mast bottling, February 2017. Photo: J. Waits

Long-time followers may recall a limited run of a 2009 Waits-Mast sparkling wine from Split Rock vineyard in the Sonoma Coast. Comprised of 100% chardonnay, we only made 6 cases of the wine and released it back in 2011.

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Waxing nostalgic as we release our 2016 Rosé and 2014 Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard by Jennifer

In honor of our Waits-Mast Family Cellars late spring release (the 2016 Waits-Mast Rosé of Pinot Noir and the 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard), it’s a good time to reflect back on the early days of these wines.

The rosé is a mere babe, crafted from a blend of luscious pinot noir juices harvested last August and September from some of our favorite Mendocino County vineyards. Nash Mill Vineyard, Mariah Vineyard and Oppenlander Vineyard make up the blend, which is being released just in time for this week’s heat spell. We only made 20 cases of this wine, so enjoy it while you can.

2016 Waits-Mast Rose of Pinot Noir just off the bottling line, February, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

2016 Waits-Mast Rose of Pinot Noir just off the bottling line, February, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

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Picks, Bins and Burgers: Behind the Scenes at Harvest by Jennifer

On Thursday we had another Waits-Mast fruit pick, this time some Pinot Noir grapes from Mariah Vineyard in Mendocino Ridge. It was a jam-packed day at the winery (we make our wine at Roar Wines in San Francisco) and a particularly hectic day for our winemaker. She awoke in the wee hours for a grape pick for another winery (complicated by a tree falling in the vineyard too!) and spent the day sorting that fruit and doing other harvest work. She wrapped up in time to brave rush hour traffic, meeting us at our San Francisco facility by about 6pm.

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Mariah grapes hanging out in the cold room before sorting on Sept. 15, 2016. Photo: J. Waits

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2016 Harvest is Looming by valleyfog
September 1, 2016, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Vineyards | Tags: , , ,
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Fruit at Wentzel Vineyard on August 28, 2016. Photo: J. Waits

Over the weekend we headed north to Mendocino County to see how all of the Waits-Mast pinot noir vineyard sources are doing. Harvest is in full swing for many wineries already and we are getting close to picking our first fruit. We trekked up to Mendocino Ridge first to visit Mariah Vineyard. Fog was rolling in as we arrived at the vineyard on Saturday morning and owners Dan and Vicki Dooling told us that it was the first fog that they’d seen in about two months. We walked the rows with them and based on the color (there were still some green berries), taste of the fruit and sugar measurements (our winemaker Shalini brought along her portable refractometer), the Doolings are estimating that harvest for us is about 2 to 3 weeks away. Continue reading



2014 Harvest Begins by Jennifer
September 15, 2014, 12:01 am
Filed under: Events, Winemaking | Tags: , , , , , ,
Wentzel Vineyards Pinot Noir arrives

Wentzel Vineyard fruit arrives

It’s only mid-September and we are more than halfway through harvest at Waits-Mast Family Cellars. In addition to being in constant communication with our growers and our wine making facility about pick logistics, we’ve also been out doing tasting appointments, pouring at events, and scrambling to buy more barrels to hold our increasingly growing production (we plan to surpass 500 cases this year!). Our first harvest of 2014 was at Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley on September 4. We greeted grower Roland Wentzel when he delivered the fruit to the winery in San Francisco that evening (after braving city traffic jams) and then raced home to pack for a trip up to Anderson Valley and Mendocino the following day.

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Counting Down the Days to Harvest 2014 by Jennifer

It’s the calm before the storm, as harvest is imminently approaching for Waits-Mast Family Cellars. It’s looking like our first pick of the year will happen in just a few days, with other picks soon after. This will all be unusually early for Mendocino Pinot Noir. But because of the drought and a warm winter, budbreak was early. This, along with a moderate growing season is driving an earlier harvest.

A week ago we went up to Anderson Valley and Mendocino Ridge in order to check in on the vineyards from which we source our Pinot Noir grapes and things were looking and tasting great already. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s happening at four (of our five) vineyard sources:

Wentzel Vineyard, Anderson Valley: Our first visit on the weekend of August 23, 2014 was to Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley. We initially starting working with this vineyard in 2007 (the wine was our first commercial release) and after a short break, have been making wine from Wentzel every year since 2010. Pictured below is the section, dubbed Le Clos, from which we have primarily been getting our grapes. It features a field blend of Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and is located in a lovely, enclosed sloping section of the Wentzel property. It looks like this will be our first pick of 2014, with fruit coming in any day now.

Wentzel Vineyard

Wentzel Vineyard, Anderson Valley

 

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