Monday, August 29, 2011

J Harvest News from our Winemaker, Melissa Stackhouse (8/29/11)!

Melissa Stackhouse, J Vineyards & Winery VP of Winemaking

The 2011 harvest is now underway for sparkling wine and I'm thrilled to be part of the J winemaking team. I’m also excited about becoming well-versed in the nuances of sparkling wine production.  At J, however, the future is all about varietal wine.

So far the weather has been steady and predictable. Just enough fog in the evening and early morning to moderate the pace of ripening, and just enough sun and heat during the day to move the sugar levels in the right direction.

A faint aroma of the first fermentations is now wafting through the cellar. The winemaking and vineyard teams are out in the vineyards monitoring the grapes, focused on the weather forecast to ensure our decision-making is tethered to sound information. The next couple of weeks will be very busy.

As for varietal
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, we’re expecting to start picking for the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in about two weeks, assuming the weather cooperates! Our Chardonnay destined for the Russian River Valley blend is expected to ripen by mid-September. 

The most magical thing about harvest is the twists and turns as we go through it.  We don't have a crystal ball to tell us what the weather will be like, or what sort of vintage this will be. A good friend mentioned once that if there was such a thing as a crystal ball, we'd be making crystal balls rather than wine.  My response to that was, maybe, but it wouldn't be as fun!

Founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, J Vineyards & Winery is an independently owned Sonoma County winery.  The winery kicks off its 25th Anniversary celebration this year on Saturday, September 17, 2011.  To learn more, or to join the J Wine Club, go to

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