How Do We Know What A Great Year Is?

David Duncan, CEO of Silver Oak CellarsAt 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!
In 2009 we began to use berry sensory analysis where we follow a particular pattern in the vineyards for tasting and evaluation of each block of a given vineyard.  All picking is decided by taste and all ultimately up to Dan when we pick.  We are also doing cutting edge work with deficit irrigation, giving the vine not only just the water it needs, but also at just the right time.  This as well as a myriad of other activities, all in the name of trying to improve each vintage, shown up in our wines and, in a year like 2013, shines!
Another aspect of harvest that I would like to point out is just how hard our vineyard and winemaking teams worked this year.  We are so thankful for everything they do.
We love seeing the cycle come to a close toward the end of harvest and this is one we feel great about.  But, there is no rest.  On to 2014!