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Fall: Vintage 2022 and the Heat Wave

Every har­vest brings a new set of chal­lenges, and over the decades I’ve seen it all. Rain, smoke, hail, heat — the weath­er brings end­less sur­pris­es and every change influ­ences the prod­uct of the vin­tage. This har­vest has been fast, furi­ous and hot! 

August kicked off a heat wave in Paso Rob­les that just wouldn’t quit. Heat waves, par­tic­u­lar­ly expe­ri­enced after back-to-back drought-like win­ters, are a def­i­nite cause for con­cern. We enjoyed mul­ti­ple 110+ degree days this har­vest, which threat­ened to burn vines and can instant­ly des­ic­cate grapes, turn­ing plump fruit to raisins. Thank­ful­ly, our vineyard’s prox­im­i­ty to the Pacif­ic Ocean pro­vid­ed cool night­time relief from this sti­fling heat. The true chal­lenge was the pres­sure to work as quick­ly and as dili­gent­ly as pos­si­ble to stay ahead of the worst peri­ods of heat to har­vest the fruit while it was at its best.

Vine cluster hands fall

Vineyard Blocks

We worked our way around the vine­yard from block to block, bring­ing in our first bins of Syrah in late August. Quick­ly there­after, we picked the Grenache, Mourvè­dre, and final­ly Carig­nan over three intense weeks. I worked stead­fast­ly and up-to-the-minute to make the best deci­sions for our fruit and vines. Thanks to our loca­tion and every micro deci­sion, our vines stayed healthy dur­ing the most extreme heat days, suf­fer­ing no exces­sive heat dam­age to the fruit or vine­yard. Our last day of pick­ing the Thibido Estate was Sep­tem­ber 13, 2022.

My friend and fel­low wine­mak­er, Scott Haw­ley, pro­cured some of the Thibido estate Syrah and Grenache for his Tor­rin wines; we met sev­er­al times on the estate to walk the vine­yard and deter­mine pick­ing times. He said, You have some­thing real­ly spe­cial here with this vine­yard.” We’re thrilled to share our fruit with sev­er­al local pro­duc­ers this har­vest; Tor­rin Wines, McPrice Mey­ers, TOP Win­ery, and Peachy Canyon Winery.

You have something really special here with this vineyard. Scott Haw­ley, Tor­rin Wines

Our 2022 Red Wines 

The fruit is now in the win­ery and work­ing towards its next steps. I’m excit­ed to shep­herd our 2022 vin­tage grapes into bot­tle over the next few months and years. Our Syrah has near­ly com­plet­ed its fer­men­ta­tion, and is com­prised of 50% whole clus­ter and 50% destemmed fruit, intro­duced to our con­crete tank to fer­ment. Min­i­mal inter­ven­tion along the way has allowed for a nice, slow fer­men­ta­tion. I antic­i­pate press­ing this lot in the next few days.

Our Grenache, Mourvè­dre, and Carig­nan are in their ini­tial phase of a cold soak. We cold soak by chill­ing the fruit in its fer­men­ta­tion ves­sel for a few days to ensure ear­ly extrac­tion of the grape skin for col­or, fla­vor, and aro­mas. These fer­men­ta­tions should start soon! They will get a punch down two to three times per day, depend­ing upon the stage of fer­men­ta­tion. With the heat wave of the 2022 vin­tage, these wines are sure to be bold and burst­ing with ripe fruit.

Our 2022 White Wines 

Our white wine pro­gram took a new turn this vin­tage. Inspired by our beau­ti­ful Grenache Blancs made in the amphorae from 2020 and 2021, I decid­ed to try a new grape vari­etal this year. The Ver­menti­no grape is a rare and deli­cious­ly com­plex grape orig­i­nat­ing in Italy, with a very min­i­mal vine­yard foot­print in Cal­i­for­nia. These Ver­menti­no grapes will devel­op into a very spe­cial wine released in the spring. The Ver­menti­no fruit was wel­comed into the win­ery in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber and went straight to the press; the juice was trans­ferred to our ampho­ra tank. It is now slow­ly fer­ment­ing in the clay pot and bub­bling with deli­cious aromas.

First Date Grenache Blanc Best Day Rosé Grenache Rosé The Bedfellow Syrah

What’s next

In the com­ing weeks and months, we’re focused on press­ing, set­tling, drain­ing, and bar­rel­ing down our wines. We can­not wait to see what devel­ops and, of course, to intro­duce these wines to all of you.