J VINEYARDS WRAPS UP 2009 HARVEST
Completed Before Heavy Rains Arrive
HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA — (November 9, 2009) — J Vineyards & Winery wrapped up its 2009 harvest in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley on October 9, and not a moment too soon. It started pouring rain on October 12. Despite the rain, cheers were heard on the winery crush pad with the loudest coming from winemaker George Bursick, a veteran of 31 North Coast harvests.
Bursick looked quite pleased with the overall quality of the fruit and expects to make exceptional wines from the 2009 vintage. He also breathed a sigh of relief, dodging a typhoon-influenced storm that dropped some of the heaviest amounts of rain ever recorded in October in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“It’s a great feeling to have all the grapes in the winery just as the October deluge began,” said Bursick. “The long, cool growing season in our Estate vineyards and throughout our independent grower vineyards provided an excellent opportunity for the grapes to achieve perfect phenolic ripeness and superb fruit flavors,” he added. “Given the samples I’ve tasted so far, I expect 2009 will be another banner year for our Russian River Valley wines.”
For most of the growing season, weather conditions along the Russian River Valley could not have cooperated more fully for vineyard managers. The growing season was generally uneventful, marked by slightly cooler than average temperatures and highlighted by fewer heat spikes in June, July and August. A late burst of heat in September kicked harvest into high gear, and although one rainstorm made its way through Sonoma County the same month, it was just light enough to settle the dust.
J Vineyards viticulturist John Erbe agrees with the assessment. “The overall cool weather combined with warm, but not hot, afternoons allowed the grapes to ripen at a nice, even pace,” he said. “There were no weather issues, and the progress of this harvest, ending before the onset the first major fall storm, proved to be well-timed.”
Erbe added, “This ‘almost perfect’ ripening period produced grapes with uncharacteristically small berries which contributed to ‘low juice-to-skin’ ratios, creating wines of unusual depth and concentration. In most cases, the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir berries were less than one-quarter inch in diameter.”
J Vineyards & Winery is unique in that for twenty years, the winery was focused entirely on producing highly acclaimed Russian River Valley sparkling wines. With the arrival of George Bursick in 2006, however, the winery began a program of high-end Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietal wines. There is also a Vin Gris, a Viognier, and a Pinotage in the Russian River Valley portfolio sold exclusively at the winery. A seductive Pinot Gris is made by the winery, although a good portion of the fruit is presently sourced in cool climates outside the Russian River Valley, and this will be the case until additional vines can be planted.
The sparkling wine harvest began in early August, with grapes picked for their optimum acidity and low sugar levels, a necessity in making world-class méthode champenoise. Upon the completion of the sparkling wine harvest, it was then time to pick grapes for J’s signature Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. J’s varietal wine program now represents about fifty percent of the winery’s production, and more than a few lots from the 2009 Harvest are being considered for special single-vineyard designations.
TASTING J WINES
A visit to the J Vineyards & Winery “Signature Bar” and “Bubble Room” is a must for anyone headed to Sonoma County and the Russian River Valley. J’s two tasting salons are the perfect hip locations to sample the current vintages and catch up on the latest winery news and information. The Signature Bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tastings are $20 per person for a selection of five wines.
The Bubble Room features a three-part seasonal food and wine experience prepared by Executive Chef Mark Caldwell. The menu is designed to highlight the “terroir” of each of the six wines in the pairings. The cost for the Bubble Room tasting is $60 per person and reservations are encouraged.
J Vineyards & Winery is located at 11447 Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg. For more information call (707) 431-3646 or go to www.jwine.com.