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Ever wonder what the stages of harvest include?

Ever wonder what the stages of harvest include?

By early August, the vineyards of Napa Valley are flourishing, and the planning for the annual harvest begins in earnest. While the arrival of another high-quality crop is a time of celebration, harvest time is also a period of almost non-stop hard work and critical...

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What is Veraison, and when does it occur?

What is Veraison, and when does it occur?

Each year, vineyard managers in Napa Valley and around the world monitor each stage of development that will determine the successful maturation of their grape crop. Depending on the weather, elevation, soil type, and even the grape variety, the various stages may...

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Flowering in the Vineyards

Flowering in the Vineyards

Throughout each year, the vineyards and landscape of beautiful Napa Valley undergo dramatic color transformations that represent the maturation of the annual grape crop. Even before the vineyards show signs of life in the spring, mustard plants interspersed among the...

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Spring in the Vineyards

Spring in the Vineyards

Napa Valley’s incredible scenery is constantly changing. In the springtime, as the vines come alive again, gorgeous yellow mustard flowers carpet the vine rows as the vines start their seasonal bud break that will yield the crop for the new year. Those first tender...

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Harvest-Starts-Vineyard

Harvest-Starts-Vineyard

To review, in January, February, March we experienced biblical levels of wet – parts of Napa got almost as much rain as the last three years combined.  This was followed by a mostly chilly, damp, foggy spring.  No clear weather pattern developed; we swerved from nice...

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Next-Vintage-Begun

Next-Vintage-Begun

Napa has been enjoying a couple of weeks of pretty days – so welcome after weeks of rain and chill.  Our Chardonnay has mostly popped new green shoots, which is the official start of our next vintage year.  Some of the Merlot has popped as well, a bit unusual. ...

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A little look back into Bell Wine Cellars

A little look back into Bell Wine Cellars

Winemaking is not only an art but also an exacting science. Wineries can only survive by producing excellent vintages, innovating, and doing what is necessary to please their customers. While delivering the best-quality luxury wines must be every winemaker’s goal,...

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2017-Wrap-2018-Horizon

2017-Wrap-2018-Horizon

As I watch faded leaves fall from the oak above the office window, and think about this year about to end, I have to conclude that it has been one of the most challenging we have faced in the 20 years here at BELL.  The weather alone kept us continually alert with the...

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Grapes-Coming-Harvest

Grapes-Coming-Harvest

Harvest has begun in Napa, the culmination of a vintage year of unusual weather.  Our drenching rains of winter refilled aquifers and then some.  Flooding in Napa downtown has been a news staple for many generations.  But the recently completed work on utilizing acres...

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SUN is here today

SUN is here today

Welcome to 2017!  This is being sent while we have a sun break, before the rain returns in earnest for the weekend.  Napa has had almost 20 inches of rain by New Year.  As you can see in this picture, the little slough behind our winery is over half full.  While this...

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2017 is on the Horizon

2017 is on the Horizon

It’s the last week before holidays command everyone’s complete attention.  We are busy closing annual files, making last additions to wines in barrel, and tracking errant shipping orders.  Temperatures have dropped.  My thermometer was under 30 for the first time this...

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Late Fall at Bell Wine Cellars

Late Fall at Bell Wine Cellars

We can hardly believe it is the middle of November – the whirl of harvest and then traveling to work in the Florida market has us spinning.  While we were in Florida, Napa received several days of rain.  YAY!  See how deep green the grass next to our driveway is now? ...

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Harvest on the Horizon

Harvest on the Horizon

Harvest is indeed around the corner, as veraison in the Merlot can attest to.  Chris Stewart, our newest member added to the cellar staff, and Aikaterini, our harvest intern from Greece, sampled the fruit in our Sauvignon blanc vineyard this week and found sugar...

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Early Spring at the Winery

Early Spring at the Winery

The spring rainy season has us working inside this time of year, both taking care of the brand new wines from the 2015 vintage and getting the older wines ready for bottling.  The “getting ready” is a long process, and includes evaluating the corks that are the final...

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Napa-Valley-Vintners-Premiere

Napa-Valley-Vintners-Premiere

This year, we’re hosting a Premiere preview event along with our new neighbors next door, Mira Winery (www.mirawine.com) and Hoopes Vineyard (www.hoopesvineyard.com).  Just to make it interesting, we decided to collaborate on a joint lot of 20 cases – all three of us...

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Napa-Approaches-November-Without-Visitors

Napa-Approaches-November-Without-Visitors

It has been two weeks since the fires began.  November is a week away.  Across northern California, recovery has begun, both harvest and wine-making continues, and we carry on.  Unfortunately, the frightening images of raging fires roaring through neighborhoods remain...

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Early-Spring-Bell

Early-Spring-Bell

The water level has been THE story of the last several months, but with the end of February, Premiere Napa Valley takes center stage.  This two part picture displays the difference an hour can make, taken just as the doors open and again, at mid-morning this last...

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Early Summer in Napa Valley

Early Summer in Napa Valley

The early summer growing season is in full swing now – Chardonnay berries are the size of   peas and the Merlot, always a bit behind, is about the size of BB shot.  This week, we’ve had some typical summer weather.  Heavy fog in the early morning, gradually clearing...

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Spring, Bottling and Budbreak in Napa Valley

Spring, Bottling and Budbreak in Napa Valley

We bottle tomorrow and the crush pad is stacked with cases of empty bottles, huge plastic sacks of corks and the capsules that cover them, as well as the bottle labels.  The long semi that houses the mobile bottling line arrives today.  We’ll sanitize hoses, get the...

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December 2015 – Napa Winter Beauty

December 2015 – Napa Winter Beauty

The month of December is upon us, with all its attendant seasonal whirl.  Vines are shedding their colorful leaves as the weather changes.  Grasses in the vineyard  have sprung back to life with the recent storms.  The stony palisades on the eastern sides of the...

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August 2015 – Harvest on the Horizon

August 2015 – Harvest on the Horizon

It‘s hot hot hot – just right for August.  Unfortunately, some of the HOT is due to the concern about recent fires nearby.  On July 22, the Wragg fire, believed to have started by a car accident, quickly began sending up dark grey plumes one valley east of us, near...

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May 2015 The Valley Speeds Up

May 2015 The Valley Speeds Up

Late spring is when Napa goes into gear, with activity ratcheting up in the vineyard, the tasting room and out in the market.  Anthony and I just got back from our third trip out of state in as many months.  Oklahoma is familiar to Anthony, but brand new to me;...

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Bell-Rhine-Cruise-Completed

Bell-Rhine-Cruise-Completed

Anthony and I have just returned from a chilly trip up the Rhine, beginning in Amsterdam on April 1st.  Floating on a river of water running so rapidly it tilted the channel markers, we watched the world slowly change from a flat, green delta to the precariously steep...

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