Recent news, stories from the winemaker, happenings around the winery, recipes and more!
January was a crazy month in the Sierra Foothills with Mother Nature giving us 9.83 inches of rain. Bear in mind that for the past ten years we’ve been in a drought with very little rain in January. In fact, we haven’t seen rain like this since the winter of 1997~ over 25 years ago!
Thankfully, we saw virtually no damage to the vineyard and winery. The only issue was some minor soil erosion, but this was kept to a minimum. Last November, we seeded cover crop, which by January was well rooted. This well rooted cover crop held our soils in place. Our practice of cover cropping and limited tilling created well aerated soils that helped soak up rainwater.
With the above normal rainfall, ground water has been somewhat replenished, and the soils are saturated. While we irrigate only when necessary and try to mainly dry farm, this added rainfall is a major boost to our sustainable farming practices.
We’re in great shape so far and cautiously optimistic that Mother Nature will be kind to us in 2023.
It's that time of the year when I regularly start walking the vineyards. Our Estate vineyard has 19 blocks with 9 varietals. Inspecting the vineyard block by block, it is fascinating to see how each variety comes to life each year. This year, the vines started showing little hints of green a week or so ago with each block showing bud break at different times. Some varietals, like Grenache, are the first to bud out, but then takes its time developing. Others, like Sauvignon Blanc and Barbera, are middle of the pack but once they bud out, it is a sprint, and they are done quickly. Others, like Zinfandel, bud out later. On the Estate, we have 6 blocks of Zinfandel, and it's interesting to see the effects elevation and soil depth have on the vines. Six blocks of Zinfandel all budding out at different times!
I will continue to keep you posted on our Estate vineyard development throughout the year. We will also schedule tours so you can see for yourself what is going on in the vineyards.
-Mark Fowler, Winemaker
The 2020 Vintage
By Mark Fowler, Andis Wines Winemaker
Considering all the challenges this year, from the COVID-19 virus, to major heat waves, and finally to the intense California fires, we are now seeing 2020 turning out to be a phenomenal harvest for Andis Wines.
After doing some early tastings, there was excitement throughout the winery. Given how trying 2020 has been, we ended up with no issues and with wines of extreme quality.
Considering the hot weather, this year’s harvest was a sprint with 90% of our lots processed in 40 days. This compares to our normal harvest lasting 60 days or more. In addition to the heat waves, we had weeks of choking smoke from a horrible fire season. Watching each lot closely, we were relieved to find no effect on the grapes in our area of the Sierra Foothills.
Our early tastings showed wines of good character, bright natural acidity, focused aromas and fruit, and great structure. Given the challenges of 2020, we are grateful that we have been rewarded with a classic and phenomenal vintage, and that we can look forward to some truly awesome wines.
2020 Andis Bud Break
Mark Fowler, Andis Wine Maker
Spring is here, the defining season for every winemaker! We just wrapped up winter pruning in the vineyard in February, and are now eagerly anticipating spring and bud break.
Bud break signals the beginning of this year’s vine growth. As the soil temperature rises so does root pressure, bringing once dormant buds back to life. The buds start to swell and get felty until finally the first and second leaves start to unfold.
Spring is the most nerve racking time of the year for us as a single frost can damage an entire crop. If the temperature drops below 32 degrees the delicate buds may be destroyed. If temperatures rise too much the grapevines will grow too rapidly focusing energy on producing leaves instead of berries. Mild springs are ideal for encouraging slower growth.
If the weather is in our favor small shoots and leaves, required for photosynthesis, start to develop on the vine. As the vine grows more buds may develop, these buds are removed to allow the vine to focus its energy on the intended growth. Eventually small flowers start blooming and tiny bunches of grapes start to grow. At this early stage we can start to determine the size of the crop and berry. Everything that happens in the spring defines the rest of the season!
Follow along with our 2020 harvest as we update our blog and social media all season long.
Take a walk through the vineyard with Andis Wine Maker, Mark Fowler - YouTube - In the Vineyard
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