Paso Robles Growth Cycle of Grapevines: The Story Behind the Label


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.

Dormant Vines

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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Lamb burgers August 1st!

Hearthstone’s signature lamb burgers are back in action with several backyard barbecues lined up for our patio. What better way to enjoy our wine and your afternoon. Your burger and a garden salad will be served up for just $10 from12pm until sold out (usually around 4pm).The cost does not include your wine tasting. No reservations are required.


Glitter is getting back on track!

We have wonderful news! Thanks to generous donations of our wine club members we were able to take Glitter in for a proper diagnosis on her ear. Because it is squamous cell carcinoma, all we need to do is remove her ear and expect a full recovery. As love and support flows in we will be making her excision appointment in the next few months. All of Glitter’s loved ones in the tasting room are very grateful and thankful for the ongoing support. Stay tuned for an update next month when we schedule her appointment.

This Saturday is it!

Come enjoy locally raised lamb sliders alongside a flight of 6 wines, good company, and a beautiful view. Our burgers will be served from 12pm until we run out, which we do every time. There is no need to RSVP. Bring your family and enjoy a game of bocce ball. We hope to see you soon.

Pinot & Paella a success!

A big thank you to all of the participating wineries who poured with us at Pinot & Paella to support Paso Robles Youth Art Foundation! It was a cooker. We felt heat well into the upper 90′s. Be sure to get your tickets early next year as tickets were sold out.

Adelaida Cellars • Adsdfsuncion Ridge Vineyards • Calcerous Vineyard • Carmody McKnight Estate Wines • Castoro Cellars • Cayucos Cellars • Derby Wine Estates • Dunning Vineyards Estate Winery • Felten Cellars • Hearthstone Vineyard • Jack Creek Cellars • Le Cuvier • Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery • Rocky Creek Cellars • RN Estate Vineyard & Winery • Sculpterra • Tablas Creek • The Missing Leg • Venteux Vineyards • Windward Vineyard

We’re on the map!

As of today we are officially included in the Stephen Price Trail of Illusions. I can’t tell you what or where. But, somewhere in the tasting room are not one, but two optical illusions painted by artist Stephen Price. He has work all through out wine country at locations listed on his website. The key is finding the illusion at each location and he will paint you a reward. Check out his website to find us and more information. We hope to see you out on the trail. Cheers!

Blending Parties coming your way!

Learn blending secrets from winemaker Paul Ayers. He will be featuring 3 barrel samples at each event for you to mix and match from. Make you own blend and label then bring your bottle home. There is a competition for our favorite label and promotions and discounts will be announced at the events. We will be serving light appetizers to be enjoyed out on the patio. RSVP quickly as spots will fill up fast!

  • May 3rd (Sun.) 12pm-2pmCentral Coast Wine country
  • June 20th (Sat.) 12pm-2pm
  • August 1st (Sat.) 12pm-2pm

Each blending session is $40/person and $30/club member. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call the tasting room.

Thank you wine club members

Our March in review

Image result for apple blossom daysIts been a busy month at Hearthstone and we want to give a big thank you to everyone that helped make it fun. The Apple Blossom Days festival at  the Apple Farm turned out to be a big hit last Saturday. To left is a picture of the critters at the petting zoo. It was a family affair. And, we thoroughly enjoyed pouring alongside Eberle, Pomar Junction, and Sculpterra.

Shortly after the festival we hopped on back to the tasting room to have even more fun at our two consecutive wine club pick up parties. We poured all of our new wines such as the 2011 Syrah and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. The food was a hit thanks to Frank at Falcon’s Nest catering.

For those of you who came out for Vintage Paso (Zinfandel Festival) we hope you thoroughly enjoyed those meatballs that paired with our Tempranillo, Brunello clone Sangiovese, and the Petit Sirah blend. For those who were saddened, fear not, our lamb burgers will be back in action this May for Wine Festival Weekend.

hearthstone tasting room

Sustainability at Hearthstone Estate

Working as a sustainable farmer takes constant effort and education as more & more methods of SIP practices are discussed. To help ourselves plan the best routes we as a sustainable vineyard should take we must listen and learn from other’s experiences.