The Art of Fruit Thinning and the Quest for Balance

dried grapes

This week, many grape berries throughout our little corner of the world reached a very important milestone in their steady march towards becoming wine. Veraison (French for ripening), when grapes begin accumulating sugar, color and phenolics is a welcome sight for growers. For starters, powdery mildew is no longer a threat and  grapes start to taste like [...]

Permission to Bitch Slap a Winemaker

vrgrapes

The grapes are looking very vulnerable, very exposed this week. Long, cool, foggy mornings throughout Napa Valley and Sonoma means that leafing has been especially aggressive on the morning side of the vines. As we head into veraision (just a couple weeks away, according to John Wilkinson, a member of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and a grower [...]

The Profound and the Profane: Winemaking on the Edge of What’s Possible

The view to the Pacific from the vineyard

Greg LaFollette can remember wanting to be a winemaker since he was 17-years-old. But it didn’t seem practical, so… he became a professional bagpipe player instead. And while he still carries his bagpipes in the back seat of his Dodge pickup truck, having worked harvest for 60 vintages from Australia to Chile to Sonoma, it [...]