Carhartt Family Wines

Ranch Update: State of the Estate

Call me crazy, but I’m a Farmer’s Almanac fan. In November of 2021, as I read the 2022  “very dry and very cold” forecast for the West coast, I was both disappointed and concerned, as we have been dealing with drought conditions for several years now. Then, when December rolled around and we had all that lovely rain, I was overjoyed to think that they had simply made a mistake. Yet, here we are in mid-February, experiencing warm, spring-like temperatures during the day, dry conditions, and very cold temps at night. In truth, grapes do love the cold nights and warm days, but happening so early in the year can create some issues.

For example, after all the nice rain, we are seeing an explosion of grasses and weeds everywhere, including all over the vineyard. Because we don’t apply any herbicides or pesticides, we have to hand hoe, weed-eat, and use the clemens (a Big Mike job) in order to keep up with the weed population, all of which are extremely labor-intensive. In addition, all of this comes during the time that we are beginning to prune the dormant vines and prepare for the upcoming growing season. Thus, one of the risks of this warm weather is that the vines (and landscape trees and plants) will become confused, assuming it’s spring, and nearing the time to bud out. With that possibility in mind, we now are in danger of these very cold temperatures freezing and/or damaging the newly formed buds, thereby severely limiting crop yields. All that to say, grape growers and farmers alike are completely at the mercy of, and dependent on, the weather! 

In the winery, we are gearing up for March bottling, so there is a buzz of activity around getting those wines ready, including the 2021 Chase the Blues Away Rose and Sauvignon Blanc, and some new surprises!  In January, we finished racking all of the 2021 wines off their fermentation lees and returning them back into clean barrels for aging. Since we now have tasted through most of the wines, Chase and I can safely say that we are thrilled with this vintage – great chemistry balance, low alcohol levels, and truly beautiful wines.

Even in the sometimes chaotic and often unpredictable state of our world right now, at least we can all look forward to sipping some amazing wines! As always Rascals, stay safe, keep in touch, and deepest thanks for your continued support and love.