Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Cabernet Harvest

This blog is for those of you who said you wanted to help harvest but who are not on our volunteer list. We are harvesting our Cabernet this Saturday starting at 7:00 a.m. If after reading this early start time you are still interested, send us an e-mail. We'd love to see you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Loyal Customers/Helpers

Tim and I always enjoy a visit from Ken, Jess, and Alyssa. On their last visit they were easily coaxed into punching down our latest batch of wine. Sadly for us, this was Alyssa's last visit as she is now back in Hawaii with her husband who has returned from a year in Iraq. We are happy for her and look forward to seeing Ken and Jess in the winery again. Maybe Tim and I can find another fun chore for them to try!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our 2009 Harvest

Last weekend we harvested almost all the grapes from the Canelo Hills vineyard. After a few nervous days worrying about the damage from a bad hail storm, we were relieved to discover that nature smiled on us this year. The hail damage was minimal, and a few days of hot, dry weather made the grapes ready for picking before bees or ravens or coyotes could get to them.

The crop looks great. The Syrah, Zinfandel and Tempranillo that we picked are going to make some fantastic Estate wines. Be looking out for them in fall 2010.

I shouldn't say "we" picked--by the time my mother and I arrived to open the tasting room and take turns picking, the harvest was within minutes of completion! Our friend Ken drove down from Tucson and was a huge help.

Now only the Cabernet Sauvignon, which needs another couple weeks of ripening, awaits harvest. My dog Charlie and I inspected the clusters of nice little grapes, and they look great.

It's a happy time when the grapes are in and the wines bubbling away. Too bad we have to be patient and wait a whole year to enjoy the awesome 2009 Sonoita AVA vintage...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blog Quiz: What happened here?

This one is a little complicated, but if you can describe how these interesting shapes were created, and you're the first person to comment with the correct answer, you'll win a free tasting for your next visit to Canelo Hills. Happy puzzling!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE Storm!

For everyone who has been following the hail storm we had on Saturday, here are some photos. The noise in our metal-roofed building was deafening. As the storm was raging all I could think of was losing the most beautiful crop we've ever had so close to harvest. However, when Tim and I got up the courage to check on the damage, we were surprised to see that not every cluster had split berries. I'd like to say it is because of my superb canopy management but I know we just got off lucky this time. So, although the crop is a little battle wounded, it still looks like it will be a good harvest. What do you think, Mother Nature?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cover Crop

Every year I add a few more rows of cover crop in the vineyard. A few years ago I chose tepary beans because they are native to southern Arizona as they have been grown for food by the Tohono O'odham nation for generations. They usually need very little water and sprout as soon as the monsoon rains begin. This year the beans came up about 6 weeks late because of the lack of rainfall. I think I will just let them go and see if by disking the seeds back into the ground they will sprout again next year. I will also add a few more rows and hope there is enough rain to grow a proper cover crop. That means letting them grow until they flower. At that time the plants are disked in because it is the time that the nitrogen content is the highest and replenishes the soil. When I have the whole vineyard under cover crop I will be one step closer to my goal of having an organic vineyard.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 Sangiovese Harvest

One Saturday ago I picked up the 2009 Sanigovese from Peter and Judy Lecthenbohmer. They farm a small but very prolific and well tended vineyard just south of Willcox, AZ, in the winegrape farming region called Kansas Settlement. The 2007 grapes resulted in the wine that garnered a silver medal in the 2009 National Women’s Wine Competition. This past Saturday, one week later, the fermented 2009 grapes were pressed and the new wine is now settling in a big stainless steel tank, waiting transfer to oak barrels for aging and maturing. In about one year the wine will be ready for release. I love the sights, smells and tastes of handling wine at this stage and the pressed, dried out grape skins are deliciously chewy and pungent.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Tony was the first to guess correctly! Kathryn will send you your free tasting coupon!

As you can see, we have quite a pile of the little darlings! As I've said before, every year I try to eradicate them but with each tumbleweed spilling over 200,000 seeds on its way to the fence, it's not likely. And, they got a head start as Lisa, our next door neighbor, used to throw her unwanted plants over the fence. This was when Callaghans owned our property and she has vowed she no longer does it. Right, Lisa?

Cheryl Lynn, just think of how far you are scattering the seeds with your cardio exercise! Thanks to everyone who sent in guesses.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another Quiz Question

Okay. This is a little harder than the last. Once again, it is something in our vineyard. The first person to correctly guess what this is gets a free tasting in our tasting room. Will Felicia be the first once again?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wine Maker Tim

Here are some photos of the 2009 crush. Tim is so happy to have a forklift this year. His tired muscles say, "Yay!"
Using high tech tools, Tim scoops grapes out of the picking bin.
Into the press they go.
This is Tim's version of "Eating Out" during the harvest.