Life Is A Cabernet
Welcome to the Silver Oak community! Here you can read the latest from our wineries and vineyards, learn about upcoming events and join in the conversation about all things Silver Oak.
Silver Oak and Twomey October Harvest Update
POSTED 10/7/2013 6:03:55 PM
Last week began with very light rain on Sunday and Monday and cool temperatures until a slight warming trend from Wednesday to Friday. There were high winds on Thursday and Friday which dried things out nicely. Although the conditions were not conducive to raising sugars (or in this case, desiccation, since sugar loading is over) ripening continued in the form of softening of skins and degradation of the pyrazines that cause a green pepper character. It was quite remarkable to taste significant changes in less than 48 hours. Our Berry Sensory techniques proved their value yet again. There was a chance of more rain by the middle of this week, so last week felt like a good time to bring in the remainder of the fruit
Crushing was pretty quiet at the Twomey winery in Healdsburg last week, but the crew was still very busy pressing many of the Pinot tanks. We also brought the 2012 wines out of barrel to provide used barrels for the 2013 wines. As we made up the blends of 2012 Pinots, we were really impressed with the finesse and fruit expression of the wines. This week we will bring in the last of our Pinot to complete harvest
Oakville has wound down in terms of crushing. We received our last two lots of Cabernet and completed harvest on Friday. It was an active week of pressing as well. So far, the harvest is presenting as an excellent vintage!
Finally, last week was a big week of crushing in Geyserville as we brought in fruit from our Red Tail Ranch as well as from vineyards around the Alexander Valley. It was also a big week of pressing. We should finish in Alexander Valley this week.
Daniel Baron 10/4/13Read more ›
Winemaker's Journal: A Day In The Life
POSTED 9/30/2013 7:14:09 PM
Ever wondered what a day in the life of a winemaker would be like during harvest? Read below to find out what Harvest 2013 is like from Daniel Baron’s perspective.
September 12, 2013
6:30 am: Wake up, have breakfast, read sports page.
7:40 am: Arrive at Soda Canyon Vineyard in southeast Napa Valley, meet with Dave Shein (our Napa Valley Vineyard Manager) and Nick Filice (our Grower Relations Manager) to look at grape maturities, tonnages and decide on where to taste that morning.
8:00 am: Begin walking vineyard: Block 26a has shredding skins, great berry flavor and soft tannins. It is ready for Friday or Saturday. 26 b, 25a (not ready – leathery skins, pyrazines) Block 5 (good progress from last tasting).
9:00 am: Leave Soda Canyon Vineyard and head west to Dry Creek Road to taste Petit Verdot with Nick. Skins beginning to shred, great color and varietal character – ready for Saturday. Nick makes call to arrange pick, I make call to arrange tanks.Read more ›
Silver Oak and Twomey September Harvest Update: September 24th
POSTED 9/24/2013 11:41:42 PM
We saw some cooler weather at the beginning of last week that allowed the vines to rehydrate the berries. By Wednesday and Thursday temperatures had risen to the high eighties and low nineties and we saw real maturity with softened skins and luscious flavors in many vineyards. The threat of rain increased as the week drew to a close and while a storm did hit over the weekend, it mainly just refreshed the berries and we saw no damage but we will now wait as the vines absorb the water and regain balance.
Silver Oak and Twomey September Harvest Update
POSTED 9/16/2013 7:32:10 PM
We are excited to announce that harvest at Silver Oak is officially in full swing! We brought in our first Cabernet Sauvignon from a couple of the rocky blocks of our Soda Canyon Vineyard in Napa Valley on Friday, September 6th. A looming heat spell had us worried last week, but thankfully it ended up being a little less severe than advertised and our fruit made it in unscathed by scorching temperatures. Delivery of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the first of the Cabernet Franc continued to roll in throughout the end of last week from Napa, St. Helena and Atlas Peak vineyards.Read more ›
The Berry Sensory Analysis of Love Potion #2009
POSTED 7/23/2013 9:58:59 PM
Each new vintage presents an opportunity to improve. In 2009, our Director of Winemaking, Daniel Baron, implemented the use of a break-though method called Berry Sensory Analysis to better determine the maturity level of our fruit and ensure we harvest our Cabernet Sauvignon at optimal ripeness.
Traditionally, the decision to harvest was based upon a grape sample’s juice chemistry, specifically degrees brix (% sugar), pH and Total Acidity. However, studies and practical observations have shown that grapes with the same juice chemistry can make very different wines. Indeed, we have come to learn that the quality of red wine is determined by the ripeness of the skins. The color, tannins and aromatics of a wine come from the cell walls in the skins and the first layer of cells just beneath them. When a grape reaches full maturity, the cell walls have broken down, allowing the contents of the cells to enter the wine solution. Therefore, to accurately measure a grape’s maturity, we must also find a way to assess the maturity of the skins.
Berry Sensory Analysis is a process that takes into consideration the pulp, seeds and skin to determine maturity. Through a series of sensory tests using sight, touch and taste, our Winemaking Team evaluates a grape’s softness, color, stalk removal, pulp, seeds and skin. Each element of the grape is given a score from one to six; one is under-ripe, six is over-ripe and four is optimal ripeness. Once the scores begin to align around the number four, the fruit has reached maturity and is ready for harvest. During a growing season, the same blocks are evaluated multiple times a week, sometimes even multiple times a day, leading up to the ultimate decision of when to harvest.
Daniel is excited about the use of Berry Sensory Analysis because it has provided him and his team with a methodology by which to evaluate the grapes. Prior to Berry Sensory Analysis, Daniel had always tasted the fruit to help determine when to pick, but he didn’t have a way to quantify what he tasted. He explains the decision to harvest was less precise and more subjective. Now, he has a specific protocol to focus and evaluate what he sees, feels and tastes.
Our Winemaking Team is energized by the improvements they’ve already been able to make to our winemaking processes with Berry Sensory Analysis. We can’t wait to share the end results with you at our 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Release Day at our Oakville winery on Saturday, August 3rd!Read more ›