Every year around Thanksgiving the same question presents itself at the tasting bar. “Why are the grapevines dead?” Please, let us reassure you, without death there is no life. This is the natural order of the vine. Each Autumn the leaves turn brown and fall. Just like a tree! This leaves the vine bare with a few stragglers looking discolored and rotten, maybe there is even a shriveled up cluster of grapes hanging on for dear life. Because after we harvest our choice fruit, the vine continues the provess of photosynthesis. This creates carbohydrate reserves which the vine will store in its trunk and root. Once it has filled itself full to satisfaction the chlorophyll in the leaves begin to break down and the leaves begin to change to their fall colors. Then, when the temperatures fall low enough, the leaves drop. This signals to the vine to stop its metabolic activity. The vine is asleep, it has gone dormant. This stage in the vines yearly cycle is argumentatively the most important stage. This is the time when we will go through the vineyard and prune back growth that is unnecessary to the next year. Because, while the vine is sleeping, it will not bleed its water and sugar. Instead it will heal over and harden where we cut. Shortening its size so it can grow again without detrimental affect. It is conserving all of its stored energy so that when the Spring comes it can burst forth, all at once actively, visually, and effectively producing new growth.
With the weather chilling and the rain falling we’ve had some time to sit and mull over our favorite wine for the holidays. The 2010 Cabernet Franc is tasting so great right now that we are going to give an additional 15% off to our wine club members. This offer is through the tasting room only as we only have 25 cases left. To get in on the goods call the tasting room at (805)238-2544 or email Renee directly at email@example.com.
From 3pm-6pm Hearthstone Estate will be featuring 3 wines newly awarded by Josh Reynolds and 3 of our winemaker’s favorite barrel samples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, & Petit Verdot. Pair these Hearthstone favorites with appetizers themed from various regions of the world. Appetizers will be catered by Fig Good Food. This food and wine pairing will cost $10 and your fee will be waived per bottle purchase.To celebrate we will be staying open an extra hour on the patio.
Our vineyard tours are starting again this week and packages are available to purchase on our website. For $35 your party of two can walk in the vineyard and learn the secrets about growing wine grapes and how the drought has effected vineyards in Paso Robles. Our goal is to share our story and give you a sample of our farming operation. We hope our passion for the growing of vines can spread and inspire each of you. These tours are given Thursdays through Saturday at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. After purchasing your ticket you will need to make an appointment by calling the tasting room. These tours are by appointment only and you will need to pre-purchase your package. We hope to see you out there!
Timeless Collection available now
Storing a wine to visit later down the road is a tradition celebrated by amateurs and enthusiasts alike. Here at Hearthstone we see eyes light up with every wine we pour and claim to be age worthy. Now we have put together a collection for you whether this a new adventure or a practice you have celebrated with our wine already. If you are a wine club member this offer is available to you. Because our case packages are limited this package can only be purchased from the tasting room by phone or in person.
$180 includes: 4 bottles of the 2010 Bruno Di Paso
4 bottles of the 2010 Fireside Claret
4 bottles of the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
What a day! Blending our own bottles of wine and lamb burgers! It was almost too much to handle. A big thank you to Hearthstone supporters for coming out. We made new friends, two people came all the way from Alaska.
Labeling by Varietal: A California-based Trend
There’s a really informative section in Wine Enthusiast Magazine on Labeling which talks about the California-inspired trend of labeling wines by varietal, or in other words, the type of grape used in making the wine. In Europe, wines were named by region (I.E. “Burgundy”).
As mentioned in Wine Enthusiast’s section on labeling, California began naming their wines based on varietals in the mid 20th century as a way to indicate to consumers what specific grapes were being used in the product. This ensured the public knew what they were getting. For example, a “Pinot Noir” has to be composed of at least 75 percent of said grape. The rest of the blend is the winemaker’s little tasty secret.
So now we know why our California wines carry their distinctive titles. Now lets take a quick look at how the grapes come to be.
Here are the stages a grape vine goes through in a year’s time:
A vine starts the year off in dormancy, during the coldest months of the year. Roots may grow during this time, but there is no outward growth of the vines. Vines are pruned during this period to remove most of the old wood and to limit a grapevine’s yield for the following harvest by only letting a few shoots grow. By only leaving a few shoots, there are fewer buds remaining, and there will be a smaller fruit set on the vine.
Budbreak marks the end of dormancy, as buds burst open and small leaves begin unfolding. When a vine undergoes budbreak depends on its varietal, but typically occurs in March when daytime temperatures begin to average 46 to 50⁰F. The flowering stage occurs anywhere from mid-May to late
Flowering Stage of Grapes
June, about forty-five to ninety days after the occurrence of budbreak. At this time, small flower clusters appear on the tips of young shoots. The pollination and fertilization of the grapevine also take place at this time. Soon after flowering comes fruit set, when the fertilized flowers produce very small, green, and hard fruit that will ultimately become grapes; unfertilized blossoms will wither and fall off the shoot. There is rapid berry growth over the next several weeks.
Véraison, which means “coloring,” marks the start of a vine’s ripening stage and takes place at the end of July and into August. During véraison, there is an accumulation of sugar, flavors and aromas in the grapes as the berries gain their true color; white wine grapes become more yellow and red wine grapes darken to a reddish blue. This is the last stage of the growth cycle of the vine and the most important in ensuring that the vintage will be of high quality. Also, growers may
Grapes undergoing the veraison stage choose to prune their vines in the summer to thin their crop and remove some of the still-green clusters. Summer pruning isn’t necessary, though, when the crop has already been reduced by disease, frost, or damage to the flowers. The purpose of removing clusters at this time is to ensure timely ripening and good must concentration for the rest of the clusters. The length of the ripening stage is determined by the weather; grapes accumulate more sugar as the leaves receive more heat and light. Moreover, the more sugar a grape contains, the higher the alcohol content of the wine that is made from it.
As harvest approaches, the grape is considered ripe when he sugar and remaining acids are well balanced. A grower may choose to harvest the grapes before they are ripe, at their point of ideal ripeness, or when they are overripe; it all depends on the style of wine they are looking to achieve. Once harvest occurs, the leaves begin to fall off the vines and the green fruit-bearing shoots of the vine turn brown and lignify, becoming woody canes. The carbohydrates that had accumulated in the shoots are transported into the trunk and roots of the vine as it enters into dormancy and takes its winter rest before another growth cycle begins.
Hearthstone Vineyard Tasting Room and Lauren Buzzeo of Wine Enthusiast Magazine Pair Great Wines with Great Food
Lauren Buzzeo of Wine Enthusiast Magazine knows the importance of appropriate food/wine pairings, just as we do at Hearthstone Vineyards here in Paso Robles.
In her recent article for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Lauren Buzzeo recommends the pairing of a vibrant tuna tartar dish with a South African Chenin Blanc. Appropriate food and wine pairings are a true gift to the palette and should be treated as a veritable science. Lauren Buzzeo for example, points out that chef Paul Mancini pairs his Tuna Tartar with a Sauvignon Blanc because the richness of this wine blends with the avocado and its acidity cuts through the fattiness of the tuna.
Hearthstone Vineyards in Paso Robles compliments Lauren Buzzeo over at Wine Enthusiast on her taste!
We at Hearthstone in Paso Robles have been doing a little research into food and wine pairings ourselves. We’ve found that our 2007 Lodestone, which fuses cherry, plum and blackberry essence with a smoky oak nose and vanilla finish goes great with sausage and peppers or a hearty pasta dish.
Please stop by our Hearthstone Vineyard & Winery Tasting Room in Paso Robles or check out the wine club online.
Hearthstone Vineyard & Winery
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Contact Us: (805) 238-2544
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