Just some musings about this whole process from my (Brooke) persepctive. If you have any specific questions about our process into becoming Farm Winery owners in Arizona, email me at email@example.com and I will write about it!
This year’s harvest was absolutely amazing! We celebrated five years of making wine in our own facility, doubled production, and brought in the most beautiful fruit to date. Picking season was delayed by about two and a half weeks, and then it WAS ON! Fruit was ripening so fast I ran out of bins. I had friends call me to take fruit because they were full and I was running all over southern Arizona picking and hauling grapes. Then it was back to the winery to stomp and press. And then it was over, as quickly as it started!
Each season truly is so different, which is why vintage variation is very real. While we didn’t have a great Monsoon for Arizona, it was certainly nice on the vineyards. Our fruit had zero rot and it was a bumper crop year, where the vines pushed additional clusters. I also got to work with three new vineyards, along with the three we normally get fruit off of! The new vineyards were in Willcox, El Frida, and also Los Milic’s vineyard in Sonoita. I am so excited about experimenting with new grapes from different terriors/soils/microclimates. It allows me to make more complex and interesting wines.
In addition to pulling in new fruit, I also experimented with an orange style Picpoul, a dessert Malvasia, a rosé dessert wine, a few Pet-Nat style sparkling wines, along with the normal reds and orange style wines I tend to make. Harvest was intense, fun and full of excitement! Now I need a month-long nap!
I wanted to take a minute and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Wishing you and your family all the joy and peace this holiday season.
Oh hey, it's raining again! That should be the theme of Harvest 2022: Rain, rain and more rain...July through October...rain! Our growers pivoted well though, and stayed on top of their farming regimes to mitigate rot and the other challenges related to monsoon season in Arizona. We worked with Rhumbline Vineyard again out in Willcox. Todd and Michelle really embody the mindset of serious and thoughtful growers. We received Malvasia Bianca, Tempranillo, Graciano and Mourvèdre. Rhumbline does such a fantastic job of catering to the needs of us winemakers and I am super thankful for my relationship with them. I made the Malvasia into our second vintage of The Proper, a skin fermented white. It is currently aging in 132 gallon puncheons. The Tempranillo came in super pretty too. I am excited to work with this varietal, as I have yet to on my own with Vino Stache! Rich and velvety, this wine is going to be a fun addition to our line up. The Graciano and Mourvèdre came in with nice maturity and phenoic ripness. They are spending the next two years in new (25%) and neutral (75%) oak.
The Sonoita vineyards started coming online around the time the Willcox vineyards did, but are lingering on ripeness a bit due to the rain and cool nights. It is almost like the rain hit Willcox more heavily in the beginning of harvest and then Sonoita got more of the action later. We work with two hard-working growers in Sonoita, The Tangled Vine Vineyard and The Whitmill Vineyard. Tangled Vine produces Graciano, Aglianico, some field blends of Vranac, Malbec and Malvasia, along with a block of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Graciano will be the main grape in our award-winning "The Boss" wine. This pick was super fun! We worked with some dental students and a dentist from Tucson. I am playing with the Aglianico a little this year. It will either be a rosé or a sparkling base cuvee. The Cabernet will be featured again in our second vintage of The Prairie Lass Rosé.
The good folks at Whitmill Vineyard, Kat and George, have been hard at work harvesting fruit during these last weeks in October. As I am writing this they are picking Mourvèdre. I just bottled a single varietal wine from their 2020 Mourvèdre harvest and it is super pretty! This wine will be called The Paniolo, named after the cowboys of the Hawaiian Islands and our brilliant designer, Brian Woodard's label. This wine will be featured in our first wine club release and will be available exclusively to the loyal Vino Stachies (members of the Minus 90 Degrees Wine Club). Hopefully Montepulciano will be coming in next week and we can make Harvest 2022 a wrap. Each year is so different with the weather conditions, the fruit loads and the overall experience that is harvest. I am thankful my back and hip made it through another year and am appreciative of our growers and wine buying supporters. We are officially sold out of all our 2019 wines as of this week and I am super excited to share new wines and fun new labels with you!