There's never a dull moment in the life of a vintner. Our yearly harvests follow a perpetual guessing game of whether the right amount of rainfall and supplemental irrigation will nourish our vines at just the right time to yield the perfect grapes for an exceptional vintage. This delicate balance sometimes feels like walking a tightrope while simultaneously gazing into a crystal ball. But now, the 2017 harvest season in St. Helena is within sight, and the view looks spectacular. Our grapes have experienced quite a season this year, and now they're in the maturing process of veraison.
What is Veraison?
It marks the beginning of the final stage in the maturing process for grapes -- when the berries begin to change color and start to soften.
Veraison is the culmination of these stages:
Stage 1 begins at bud break in spring and goes to bloom time, before the fruit forms on the vine. The vines' water needs are relatively low during this stage, depending in large part on the stored soil moisture from winter rains. We had so much rain this past winter (after droughts in recent years) that the Napa River reached flood levels. This resulted in a higher water table than we've had in a while, which increased the soil's stored moisture levels, facilitated vine turgor, and beautifully set the stage for healthy vegetative growth.
Stage 2 begins when the grape flowers fade, and the fruit forms. It's a period of rapid growth when the grapes are firm and green. The organic acids are high, and the sugar content is low.
Stage 3 is a bit of a lag phase, as grape growth slows down and the acid level reaches its maximum concentration. Too much irrigation during this stage can stress our vines, so our viticulturists must monitor watering needs precisely.
Stage 4 is the final stage -- from veraison to harvest. During this stage, viticulturists and vintners can sense a palpable and growing excitement. Our grapes begin to lose their acidic content as the sugar concentrations accumulate. As the grapes begin to soften, they also change color. By taking advantage of our location atop Spring Mountain, I designed and constructed our winery as a gravity-flow facility. As soon as we harvest our grapes, the gravity-directed process needs minimal intervention to process the fruit gently. The result is a superior juice because of the reduced tannic acid levels.
2017 Sherwin Family Vineyards Wine Forecast
With our grapes transitioning from veraison to harvest our grapes are poised to make 2017 one of our best years!
If you have any questions about the wine making process at our St Helena winery or would like to visit our tasting rooms please contact us at Sherwin Family Vineyards.
Auction Napa Valley, the world's leading charity wine event, is just days away, and we're excited to participate this year. Our Sherwin 2015 Estate Cabernet is among other great, notable wines included in the barrel auction on Friday, June 2 from 11am to 3pm.
Auction Napa Valley Benefits Various Nonprofits
Fortunately for wine lovers who can't make the trip to Napa, part of the auction is electronic and you can bid from anywhere in the world. Pre-registration is easy, and your participation will contribute to the well-being of an entire region.
Auction Napa Valley was first conceived in 1981 by winemakers in the area as a fundraiser for health and education non-profit organizations in the county. The event supports health services for residents of all ages and educational advancement for children. To date more than $170 million has been raised to benefit 25 local nonprofits in the 36 years the auction has existed.
How The Auction Works
Since all bidding is electronic, we suggest you download the apps a bit early to be sure everything is operating properly. This year's barrel auction offers 108 lots of wine futures by the case and is on Friday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Inglenook in Rutherford.
Step 2: Choose how you want to bid
Step 3: Review the barrel bidding rules
Step 4: Set your calendar appointment to Friday, June 2 at 11am to bid
We love the excitement of the live sale! The opportunity to taste Napa’s best wines straight from the barrels coupled with excited bidding gives bidders a shot at some of the best wines in the world. The top 10 bidders in each lot win a case of wine from that barrel (unfortunately, they don't get to keep the barrel).
In the barrel auction, the majority are Cabernets and Chardonnays as the valley's soil produces very high quality grapes of those varieties, but the various vineyards grow about three-dozen different varietals. Some barrels will be wine of purely one variety while others will be blends. The Sherwin 2015 Estate Cab is a blend of 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 percent Merlot and 2 percent Cabernet Franc in the style of wines created in the Bordeaux region of France.
In addition to the barrel auction, there will be almost 40 “Only In Your Dreams” live auction lots of collectible, rare Napa Valley wines, and almost 200 lots in a global E-Auction.
Celebrating At Meadowood
Following the auction is a celebration at Meadowood Napa Valley, featuring a meal designed by Francis Coppola and prepared by an incredible culinary staff.
If you are able, please join us – in person or via Internet for Auction Napa Valley. It's a wonderful opportunity to purchase some great wines, donate generously to a community and enjoy a fun weekend. If you are unable to attend and would like to taste our collection of wines, please contact us or call us at (707) 963-1154 to schedule a tasting room visit.