Grapes and Winemaking 2017

Hi Everyone – Grapes from Lodi!

Email orders and any questions to:

The 2017 Grape order is going in soon! (Last call!) – we’ll take orders and additions into the next week or so. We’re excited to hear harvest has begun and delivery will be coming up in 3-4 weeks. We’re looking at a late September delivery and hope to avoid crushing on GABF weekend, fingers crossed. If you missed our previous email, see below for prices and detailed info on varietals.
If you’ve already sent us your order, we thank you for your business and stay tuned for another update soon!

$75.00/ 36lb  lugs:

Alicante, Barbera, Cabarnet Franc, Carignane, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot North, Mixed Blacks, Mouvedre, Black Muscat, Pinot Noir (update: not sure on Pinot Noir north availability, costal Pinot available, see below), Sangiovese, Shiraz – Syrah, Seedless, Tempranillo, Touriga National, Zinfandel

$80/ 36lb  lugs:

Aglianico, Petit Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabarnet Sauvignon,  Nero D’avola, Black Muscat, Malbec, Montepulciano

Update : Costal Pinot Noir- new for 2017   $100/ 36lb lug

One 36# lug makes about 2-3 gallons.  People typically buy 2 lugs to make a full 5 or 6 gallon carboy.  We are happy to guide you through every step of the winemaking process.  As always we have the equipment to crush and press the grapes and that service is included with your grape purchase.  If you are interested in getting some lugs we’d like to have pre-orders in by the end of August.   Just email us anytime.
2017 Crop Assessment – July

After spending a couple weeks looking at the upcoming grape crop, we have come to the following conclusions:

The grape crop is not early. Everybody is saying that we are returning to a more “normal” ripening cycle. Currently, we have only partial veraison on the black grapes with full color probably not occurring generally for two to three weeks in the Lodi area.  After that we can project harvest dates according to sugar readings.

The crop is not a bumper crop.  There is some shatter and bunch count is not high. This goes for all varieties.  There also is some mildew infection in a lot of fruit.  We have already informed some growers that we will not be using their grapes this year.  Every year it is so important to have first hand supervision right here in California but especially this year to make sure the quality of the fruit is the best.  In our opinion, being at the source (in the vineyards before and during harvest) is the principle factor that distinguishes us the most from other wine grape sellers that are basically brokers.

Winery activity is not that robust.  This year the driving factor will not be the demand for grapes but rather the availability of product.  With the very hot weather that we have experienced, the crop is getting smaller. With supply moving closer to demand we may see some prices actually increase.  A few weeks ago everyone was thinking that Merlot and Zinfandel prices would drop from last year.  Right now, some spot prices for Merlot are higher than last year.  Zinfandels are the weakest variety, but I believe that they will clean up at respectable prices.  The Zinfandel crop looks very light to me.


For the first time we can offer Tannat grapes in volume.  Janice Robinson says “Young Tannat can be so deep coloured and tannic that it recalls Nebbiolo.  The wine is spicy mouth filling and exciting”. Please contact us if you’re interested in ordering Tannat.


ALICANTE-ALICANTE BOUCHET is a red-fleshed grape that must be blended with other varieties. Even though the wine is very intense in color, the wine has very little acid and actually is light in body. A little Alicante in any blend will add some nice color.

BARBERA is a grape that has a high level of natural acid but low tannins when fully ripe. Its wine can be intense but with medium bouquet and flavor. Blending Barbera with Petite Sirah or other high tannin wines could make a truly great wine.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON with its remarkable concentration of tannins, pigments and flavor pigments it will produce deeply colored rigorous wines whose bouquet will only improve with age. For a wine that will mature sooner, do some blending with varieties with lower tannins and maybe a little more fruit.

CABERNET FRANC wine is typically light to medium bodied with more fruit flavors and less tannins than a Cabernet Sauvignon. It will, therefore, mature earlier. It is great for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties.

CARIGNANE is another variety that should be blended. It has good acidity, tannins, and color but lacks flavor and charm. It is great to blend with stronger flavored varieties like a Syrah or Zinfandel to make a little lighter smoother wine.

GRENACHE is used mainly for blending and the making of Rose and Blush Wines in California. If it is blended with a variety that has good color, it can produce a fruity, spicy, medium-bodied wine. The grapes usually have high sugar and Grenache can strengthen a wine with potential low alcohol.

MERLOT is a medium acid wine that is soft and mild and is easy to drink when it is young. Color can range dark to light red. A great blender for the stronger flavored high acid and high tannin varieties.

MISSION is the first variety planted in California. It usually has high sugar and low acid. The grape must be blended to attain any color. It is a great grape to help make a sweet wine.

PETIT SIRAH produces a wine that is long-lived and deep colored with lots of tannin. It is a dry wine that has a very distinctive, recognizable flavor. A little Petit Sirah in any wine will add flavor, body and color to the wine.

PINOT NOIR produces a fine wine with a pleasant fruitiness that has lower levels of tannin and color. The grapes are so versatile that they are also used to make champagne.

RUBY CABERNET grapes were developed as a combination of Carignane and Cabernet Sauvignon. It produces a fine varietal wine.

SANGIOVESE or BRUNELLO grapes form the basis for Chianti wines. The wines have noticeable tannins and acidity with just fair color. The riper grapes produce a wine that has great plum flavors and leathery texture.

SIRAH-SHIRAZ is a wine that is spicy and leathery with smooth tannins and subtle texture. It can be drunk when it is young or it can be aged. It is a great grape to blend with the Cabernets.

VALDEPINA or TEMPRANILLO grapes are thick skinned and capable of making a deep colored long lasting wine with low acid. Great to blend with a more flavorful variety.

ZINFANDEL or PRIMITIVO – makes a dry, sturdy vigorous red wine. The wine usually has a great fruity bouquet with medium acid. A blend with Petit Sirah is just excellent. White Zinfandel is made from the low sugared early harvest Zinfandels.


CHARDONNAY – wine is the largest selling white wine. It makes a dry and fruity white wine with good bouquet. At good sugar levels the variety may be low in acid so a little blending with a high acid white is recommended. It is a great wine for aging in oak barrels.

CHENIN BLANC – is the most versatile grape variety. It is capable of producing some of the finest sweet wines, a pleasant dry varietal and a basis for many sparkling wines. It has good acid. A blend with a little Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is excellent.

FRENCH COLUMBARD – makes a neutral flavored light white wine that can be made into a varietal because of its high acid. That high acid makes it a good blender

MALAGA – is a late maturing grape with medium sugar and low acid. It makes a dry, light wine. It should be blended for balance.

MALVASIA BIANCA – makes a tangy wine with a real substance and character. It has a slight Muscat flavor. As a varietal, a little sweetness is desired. It is great blended with Muscat Canelli, Palomino, or Trebbiano.

MUSCAT (OF ALEXANDER) – is the common Muscat grape that is readily available. It makes a strong wine, sometimes sweet, with a strong Muscat bouquet and flavor.

MUSCAT CANELLI – makes a wine with a concentration of fine Muscat grape flavor, light in body with a nice bouquet. It can be a dry, but you will enjoy the wine a lot more, if it is made slightly sweet. In Italy it is used as the basis for Asti Spumante.

PALOMINO is a grape that is usually low in sugar and acid. Since the wine can oxidize easily, the Palomino is used quite often to make sherry. For dry wines it is a good blender for other varieties that have high sugar and acid.

PINOT GRIGIO – grapes are grayish blue to brownish pink. They produce a very light, crisp, white wine with mild flavors that is getting very popular worldwide.

SAUVIGNON BLANC – makes both a great dry and sweet varietal wine. It is light and racy with a piercing, easily recognizable, aroma. It is a great blender with Semillon and Chenin Blanc.

THOMPSON SEEDLESS – grapes are mainly used for raisins or table grapes. For wine making it should be blended with other white varieties. It can be blended with red varieties to make a Rose.

UGNI BLAND-ST. EMELION-TREBBIANO – grapes are planted world wide so extensively that it probably produces more wine than any other grape. As a varietal, its wine is light, white, and crisp, with good acid but not much flavor. It is a very good blender.

VIOGNIER – makes a floral and spicy white wine, medium to full-bodied and very fruity. The wine has deep yellow color and is low in acid. It should be made as a varietal. It can be drunk at a very young age.

Some Great Blends


66% Old Vine Zinfandel – 16% Carignane – 16% Petit Sirah
66% Petit Sirah – 33% Pinot Noir
66% Sirah or Petit Sirah – 17% Zinfandel – 17% Alicante
66% Old Vine Zinfandel – 33% Alicante
75% Cabernet Sauvignon – 25% Merlot
60% Cabernet Sauvignon – 40% Sangiovese —- Tuscany Blend
40% Cabernet Sauvignon – 30% Sangiovese – 30% Merlot —- Super Tuscany Blend
75% Cabernet Sauvignon – 25% Cabernet Franc
65% Cabernet Sauvignon – 15% Cabernet Franc – 15% Malbec – 5% Petit Verdot
66% Alicante – 16% Barbera – 16% Zinfandel
50% Zinfandel – 20% Carignane – 15% Petit Sirah – 15% Grenache
66% Ruby Cabernet – 33% Alicante
55% Cabernet – 40% Zinfandel – 5% Barbera
80% Cabernet – 20% Barbera
50% Alicante – 50% Petit Sirah


75% Zinfandel – 25% Carignane
75% Merlot – 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
66% Sangiovese – 16% Alicante – 16% Zinfandel
25% Cabernet Sauvignon – 75% Sangiovese —- Tuscany Blend
15% Cabernet Sauvignon – 70% Sangiovese – 15% Merlot —- Super Tuscany Blend
40% Sangiovese – 40% Primitive (Zinfandel) -20% Carignane
33% Grenache – 33% Sangiovese – 33% Alicante
16% Grenache – 34% Carignane – 34% Zinfandel – 16%Alicante
50% Alicante – 50% Grenache

Email us your order before Sept. 7th please!