August Vineyard Update: Veraison

The vineyard is quietly colorful right now as our grapes go through veraison. The green berries that developed in May have grown beneath the leafy canopy that shelters them and are now ready to take on their final color.

You’re invited to the  “Evening under the Estrella Sky”  Winemakers’ Dinner!

On August 20th, the winemakers and owners of the The Pleasant Valley Wine Trail wineries will come together in a beautiful, outdoor setting at Hartley Farms for a fabulous evening of wine, food and music – all in support of must! Charities of Northern SLO County benefitting at-risk youth, teens and families. Appetizers and pre-dinner wine tastings with all 12 wineries will be served from 6:30 to 7:15. Then, you’ll be seated for a 4-course dinner, paired with 12 wines, beginning at 7:30. Courses include spinach salad with strawberry vinaigrette, salmon in puff pastry, braised short ribs with whipped potatoes and  delectable cheesecake for dessert. While you’re enjoying fabulous food and delicious wines, you’ll be able to chat with the winemakers, owners, and associates from all of The Pleasant Valley Wine Trail wineries along with associate members Hartley Farms and Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles, CA. EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! The first 100 tickets are just $125 per person – or buy an entire table for 8 people for just $875 (Buy 7, Get 1 FREE – save $125)  BUY NOW! Pleasant Valley Wine Trail Wineries * Bon Niche Cellars * Cinquain Cellars * Four Sisters Ranch * Graveyard Vineyards * J&J Cellars * Locatelli Vineyards * Mystic Hills * Ranchita Canyon Vineyard * Riverstar Vineyards * San Marcos Creek * Tackitt Family Vineyards * Villa San Juliette Vineyard & Winery...

VSJ Updates: June Bottling

With our first big bottling taking place and our vineyard flourishing in full vigor, spring has already been big for us at VSJ! After months of blending wines and preparation, our bottling took place over two intense days at the winery. A specialized truck  equipped with all the bells and whistles functioned as the workhorse for the bottling run, while our Winemaker Dan oversaw the operation and executed the logistics of moving between the various wine lots. Meanwhile, our Assistant Winemaker Lauren managed the quality control, guaranteeing all corks were snug, the bottles were filled correctly, and the quality of the wine was consistently great (tough job!). We even had Cody, one of our 2015 harvest interns who is studying Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly, return to help out with the operations and to get some valuable experience working on the bottling line.   During these busy days, our beautiful 2015 white wines–Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Rosé—were bottled and readied for their upcoming release. These wines are crisp and refreshing, but they are also creamy and lush in style because of extended barrel ageing. As a result, these wines are radiant and delightful—and will be ready to release just in time for summer! In addition, of our medium-bodied red wines were bottled, including our 2014 Grenache, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. Our winemaker is thrilled with this vintage of reds, as 2014 gave us elegant and refined wines that wonderfully capture the minerality and fruity nuance for which our estate vineyard is so well known. Lastly, we also bottled our 2013 Chorum Red blend, our special blend of 7 estate varieties! After 30 months of barrel ageing to round out its big tannins, this sumptuous red wine offers a richness and depth of flavor that we think...

VSJ Updates: News From The Vineyard

We’ve had a lot of activity in the vineyard recently and we wanted to update you all on the goings-on. First, as you can see from the bright green in our blocks, we had bud break in the vineyard. Tiny buds appeared early in March, but a long cold spell kept them from really popping out until mid-to-late March. This means we’re on track to have a “normal” year, timing-wise, compared to the previous two years that brought early bud break. Those buds have been growing into healthy shoots over the last month, and this week we’ve had crews working to thin them out. Thinning the shoots serves several purposes: it’s the first (and, arguably, the best) way to start controlling the season’s fruit yield and quality. By removing shoots, we reduce the amount of fruit each vine will carry, which in turn increases the quality of the remaining fruit. Also, shoot thinning now helps the vine direct its energy into good, strong growth (it’s a little like making sure the vine gets to bed early and doesn’t party now so that it’s energy is up at harvest time). A thinned vine will produce a tall, beautiful canopy that allows dappled sunlight to come in (rather than a short, bushy canopy that can’t ripen fruit and blocks all sunlight). Not all vines get the same thinning treatment; vines that grow our reserve fruit get the delux spa treatment and are thinned to 2 shoots per spur position (the lumpy wood spots along the vines), while other areas of the vineyard get less thinning (allowing for more grapes for more wine!). Here’s a photo from today showing what Cabernet Sauvignon vines look like before and after reserve-level thinning: Note the scraggly sucker-shoots on the trunk (red arrow) in the before...

2015 Harvest Update From Winemaker Dan Smith

Harvest is off to an early and busy start! With lower than average yields projected across California this season, the VSJ vineyard is no exception. Under drought conditions, our Pinot Gris (harvested August 12th) and Sauvignon Blanc (1 of 2 picks harvested August 13th) came in with small berries and small cluster sizes. The fruit, though small in yield, is balanced and extraordinarily flavorful and concentrated, which is perfect for premium winemaking. We’ll have the remaining Sauvignon Blanc in next week, then we’ll be extra prepared for the storm of red varieties to follow. Dan...

Summer at VSJ!

  We’ve got a lot of fun lined up for you up at Villa San-Juliette this summer! Check out our Events and Happenings page or like us on Facebook to stay update on all the great Wine Country experiences we have to offer...