2019 - A Short Review. Fun, Flood, Fire, Fruit December 30, 2019 00:00
There are few things more enjoyable than working in vineyards, making wines in my cellar and visiting with guests on weekends in my tasting room. I am so lucky that this is what I do all year round. 2019 was no exception. This year was packed full of fun. Pruning, racking, bottling, harvesting, crushing, pressing, pouring samples of my finished wines for good people. This year I installed solar electricity. I was excited to release a pale direct press rosè. A red blend with 19% white grape. I got a truck load of aromatic oak barrels to play with.
New Wine New Barrels
Last winter the rainy season started off slowly and late. Then it rained and then it rained a little more. Frick is located on high ground so the water soaked in, then the water flowed away. Lower points beyond flooded. Homes, vineyards and some wineries were inundated. But the soil reservoir was full and ready for vines to come out of hybernation. Season total rainfall here at Frick was 61.87 inches. Spring sprang green and lush.
Stream in Vineyard Rain gauge overflowed
Fire All is OK and safe with the people, vines and wines here at Frick. Here is the story.
October is the month to wrap up harvest and get ready for winter. It has also become wildfire season. Jobs must be scheduled around planned power outages that are meant to protect us from fires.
One of those power outages began on October 21. In the darkness the following morning I smelled smoke grabbed a flashlight. Outside it was warm silent and windless as the light beam cut through thick clouds of smoke to illuminate falling ash. This is now known as the Kincaid Fire. The fire spread. That power outage was prolonged. Mechanized winery jobs were on hold. I was out of communication for many days. Prevailing winds away from here enabled my vineyard to escape smoke damage. Evacuation became extensive and long. During this time, I was able to be here and personally attend to my wines and vines every day, except for one.
October was a trying month.
The fire Dinner by candlelight
Fruit makes the wine. Last spring bud break was 2 weeks late. Last rains of the season were late. All varieties except Viognier escaped late rain washing away pollen. Good late season rainfall meant the vines grew vigorously through spring and summer. Weeds in the vineyards also grew vigorously so the winemaker worked vigorously hoeing weeds all summer. Harvest was late and ran from early September to early November. During harvest I worked around loss of power, but in the end it did no harm to the fruit. Yield quantity was normal. Grapes were delicious with excellent acid balance. Young wines are now going into barrels to sleep, age and mellow for 22 month into complexity.
2019 was a memorable year. It will be a delight to savor the wines from this vintage. Just going to have to wait two more years. BUT you can enjoy some 2016 and 2017 right now.