Monday, October 3, 2011

Crystal Basin (Camino/El Dorado County) Harvest Report- "A Decidedly Odd Growing Season"

Mike Owen, Founder of Crystal Basin Cellars in Camino, El Dorado County (Sierra Foothills), sends this report:

After a decidedly odd growing season that started late and appears to be showing signs of ending early, Crystal Basin brought in its Barbera grapes on Sunday, October 2,  from the Valley Oaks vineyard in Lotus owned by winery partners Jack and Diane Wohler.  This small vineyard is set to come in at 26.5 brix and will again provide the big, structured, high-acid foothill Barbera grapes that Crystal Basin's winemaker Peter Zimmerman loves to craft into intense red wines.  

Jack was quoted as saying " this harvest is coming just in time, the grapes stabilized at 24 brix and held, but they gained a couple of extra points in last week's heat and they are going to be perfect.  We will be bringing in a normal-sized crop this year and then we can go back to enjoying the stuff."

Crystal Basin's other grape sources are set to weather this coming week's expected rain.   Crystal Basin uses a number of higher-elevation vineyards that typically ripen later the in growing season. 

"It's kind of  a crap shoot this year to figure out what percentage of the planned harvest we'll actually see", noted Mike Owen, Founder of Crystal Basin.   

About Crystal Basin, from its website (

Crystal Basin Cellars has its roots in amateur cooperative winemaking. Beginning under the house in 1981, CBC created a long string of vintages that captured fun times with friends. Steadily growing from 3 barrels to 25, CBC outgrew its space and was formed as a commercial winemaking operation in 2000. Since then, we've made more than 10,000 cases of wine that have been eagerly devoured by our fans and ourselves. We've been awarded a pack of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals since 2001. In fact, each of our vintages has won at least one Gold Medal at a major wine competition in California.

Our goal, to make wines from the heart, is driven by a passion to craft the highest quality wines possible from El Dorado County grapes.

At Crystal Basin, we are not grape growers but are blessed to have strong community connections to source great local grapes. We've been buying our fruit from the same super-premium vineyards for over 15 years.

One of the key strengths of Crystal Basin Cellars is our Team. We've worked together for a long time and we're all part-timers. We somehow always pull it together and look pretty good doing it.

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