|Winemaker Chris Pittenger, left, |
Ryan Skinner, GM, right
The stories of doom and gloom for Harvest 2011 have been as rampant as bunch rot, and I’m sure that most of us are tired of hearing about it by now.
While we are not immune to the forces of Mother Nature, the story at Skinner Vineyards is different from most that we've been hearing, thus perhaps worth sharing.
We have fared well as it relates to rot, but our two estate vineyards took the brunt of harsh late winter conditions in April, May, and June. For example, on May 16th alone, we had snow, rain, hail, lightning, heavy winds, frost and sunshine at our 2700’ hillside vineyard in Fair Play – all within a 12-hour period. Our steep slopes usually protect us from frost conditions, but continuously cold and wet weather throughout spring resulted in a very poor fruit set in many of our blocks. This, coupled with the one of the coolest growing seasons on record, resulted in very low yields and an extremely late harvest.
However, not all is doom and gloom at Skinner. Aside from the reduced yields, the fruit quality that we are seeing in the winery has been surprisingly good. Our growers and vineyard crews have worked diligently to drop unevenly ripened fruit and the occasional rot. While it is too early to tell how things will end up, we are seeing balanced wines at lower sugar levels, much like 2010.
Our first picks occurred on October 1st, which was the same day as 2010 (another late harvest). A surprise rain event greeted us shortly afterwards and put harvest on hold until October 15th. Since then, fruit has been coming in at a steady pace over the last two weeks with a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc. We still have a little Syrah and Mourvedre hanging out which we anticipate picking within the first week or two of November – weather permitting of course." ~ author, Chris Pittenger.
More about Skinner Vineyards (from their website and press materials)
Skinner Vineyards and Winery encourages you to visit the most breath-taking tasting room in all of the Sierra Foothills.
Sitting atop our vineyards at 2,500 feet, you can take in 360 degree vistas of the Foothills and unimpeded views across the Sierra all the way to Pyramid Peak in Tahoe. Our 3,000 square feet of patio space provides ample seating allowing you to enjoy the cooling effect of waterfalls in the summer or warmth of fireplaces in the winter. With furnishings and design that evoke our heritage tracing back to 1861, including a recreation of the stone cellar from the original winery, our tasting room is truly a special place to enjoy our wines.