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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...

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...

January 2016 – Off to a Great Start

January 2016 – Off to a Great Start

2015 holidays have receded in the rear view and we’re fired up for 2016.  Welcome rains have swept through many parts of California – here in Yountville they’ve brought the dry creek behind the winery back to life.  Leaving last night, I was serenaded by a very...

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...

November 2015 – Three Little Words

November 2015 – Three Little Words

RAIN RAIN RAIN Those are the three little words I’m referring to – the musical patter of raindrops greeted us this last night as the first storm system of the late fall season swept in off the Pacific.  Often observed close to Christmas, “El Niño”, the weather system...

October 2015 – A Stirring Conclusion to Early Harvest

October 2015 – A Stirring Conclusion to Early Harvest

Can you believe it?  Columbus Day and pumpkins galore are right around the corner.  This year, we will be completed with harvest before the holiday that bids summer farewell.  It’s true that we started the 2015 growing season early and therefore expected to probably...

September 2015 – Harvest Happens!

September 2015 – Harvest Happens!

If its September, it must be harvest – Napa actually began harvesting grapes for the sparkling wine houses in July.  One of the earliest harvests in the last fifty years, it’s worth remembering that it began with an early bud-break this warm, very dry spring.  The...

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...

June 2015 Summer is almost HERE

June 2015 Summer is almost HERE

Hay bales have appeared on the field next door so hold onto your hat – June is here, and summer always goes so quickly!  We have the big bottling of all our 2013 reds coming up, which will certainly keep us busy, and immediately after bottling, attention heightens in...

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;...

April 2015 Sun Rain

April 2015 Sun Rain

Anthony and I are about to head to work in Oklahoma for the next week, and before I leave, just a quick note to let you know we’ve gotten at least a half inch of RAIN since last night.  The sound during the heaviest part of the downpour on our tile roof actually woke...

March 2015 Budbreak in Napa Valley

March 2015 Budbreak in Napa Valley

Can you say “apical dominance”?  While walking through the Chardonnay vineyard yesterday, Anthony and I noticed the first signs of the season’s beginning.  Vines have been pruned back to the wood, but the action is at the end of the cordon.  Buds at the tips of the...

February 2015 Winter Update

February 2015 Winter Update

While pretty camellias brighten our February, our present focus is on the newest members of the BELL wine family from the 2014 vintage.  They are about to be evaluated out of barrel for the first time.  The vintage showed excellent potential, and the new wines were...

December 2014

December 2014

The Sun Stand Still at SOLSTICE 2014 Welcome the sun back – the vineyard was absolutely sparkling this morning.  Soon our days will become longer, heralding a new year for the vines.  Yountville has had almost 20 inches of rain so far, a wonderful bounce back from...

December RAIN

December RAIN

We’ve had RAIN – the little bit of accumulated wet from the last several weeks has made a big difference.  Cover crops in the vineyards are popping up bright green between the vines and on the winery driveway I noticed clumps of brilliant mustard, all because recent...

November 2014

November 2014

Am I the only one lamenting the diminishing daylight?  Month by month, our light has flattened out low over the southern horizon and slowly reduced the size of its arc.  The front picnic area no longer has any sun after 11AM as the winery roof now shades...

Post Harvest Power Washing at BELL

Post Harvest Power Washing at BELL

Our newest wines have made it through initial fermentation and are taking their first of several long naps in barrel – ahhh, the wonders of beauty sleep.  While they snooze through a secondary fermentation that changes acid structure, we’re taking the opportunity...

October 2014

October 2014

October 2014 has not been like most Octobers, and that’s not a bad thing!  No wringing our hands about potential storms swooping in off the Pacific this year!  All of our grapes came in early, with our last load arriving at the cellar door on the 6th. ...