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How Do We Know What A Great Year Is?
POSTED 10/28/2013 11:22:00 PM
At Silver Oak and Twomey we pride ourselves on making consistent wines every vintage. There are many things we do every year to try and ensure excellence. Many people ask Daniel what it is like to put the blends together and if that makes him nervous. The truth is that we grow grapes all year long. For each vine, indeed literally for each bunch of grapes, there are hundreds of decisions made each season: pruning, suckering, pulling laterals, green drop, post verasion pass, water treatment and finally the all-important picking decision.
In a given vintage we bring all of our experience to bear to make these decisions in accordance with what mother nature doles out. Then there are those vintages like 2013. Wow! Mother nature did not “dole out” anything but almost ideal growing conditions all season. We had a little heat spike in the summer and a bit of rain during harvest, but it is a special year. As I have moved around the wineries and tasted the must and young wines I notice a particular freshness to the wines that is exciting and enticing. Beautiful dark fruit and floral characteristics with a particular depth and complexity. Very exciting!
Silver Oak and Twomey October Harvest Update #3
POSTED 10/21/2013 11:11:09 PM
I'm happy to say that the weather has ceased to be an obsession now that all the fruit has been picked.
We have three more small tanks of Pinot Noir to press this week and then will be done at Twomey Healdsburg. We have made all of the 2012 blends with the exception of the Bien Nacido Vineyard fruit from Santa Maria Valley, which will be finsihed next week. This gives us the barrels we need to barrel down the 2013. The crew is still busy, but the pace is calmer as they wrap up the vintage.
At our Napa Valley Winery in Oakville, we just pressed the last and biggest tank of Cabernet from this vintage. This was left for our Growers Relation Manager, Nick Filice, to dig out, because, after all, grower relations is to thank (or to blame) depending on your mood.
Silver Oak and Twomey October Harvest Update #2
POSTED 10/14/2013 9:55:03 PM
Last weekend was warm and the threat of rain evaporated as the week progressed. Gradually, everything cooled to very pleasant Fall weather with mid-70’s highs and quite cool nights in the high 30’s.
We continued to press fruit at Twomey Healdsburg, but the pace has finally slowed and the crew can get a little rest. We are in the midst of pulling the 2012 Pinots out of barrel so that we can barrel down the 2013’s. The Pinot is handled differently than our other reds because it is much more changeable during aging. For that reason, we barrel down separate lots and blend them after each one has had some time to age. We also allow the malolactic fermentation to occur in barrel which we feel adds a little more mid-palate.
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 10/4/13
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.