All Bottled Up

 

Bottled - Halter Ranch Vineyard

 

Last week we bottled 3 wines from the 2012 vintage and 2 wines from the 2013 vintage.  As each harvest season passes and we begin to taste whites and rose from the immediately preceding vintage and reds after barrel ageing for 18 months it is amazing and exciting to see the combination of similarity and subtle differences each new vintage lends.  As each season turns, the vines mature a little more, digging their roots in deeper through soil, rock, and the history contained therein.  In subtle ways the wines seem to react to this maturity, gaining depth, brightness, and length with each new year. (more…)


Weather News

Weather - Halter Ranch Vineyard

The Weather Station

 

After much consideration and planning, a shiny new weather station has been installed along the Halter Ranch airstrip by Joe Thorp of Signature Ranch Technologies.  Given distinction between weather here on the ranch and weather nine miles east of us in Paso Robles proper, we’ve been relying on readings from Tablas Creek’s weather station up to this point.  For each mile you move away from the town of Paso Robles toward the coast you may add approximately an inch of rainfall and about half a degree of decreased temperature.  As a result we tend to average 25-30 inches of rainfall, and about 5 degrees fahrenheit less on average over the course of a year than Paso Robles proper and vineyards east of highway 101. (more…)


Prepruning and Sustainability

 

Sustainability - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Cesar in Block 28

 

Each year, in late December or early January we embark on the process of pruning the entire vineyard to prepare for the vines’ awakening in Spring.  The first step in this process is to pre prune the long canes from last year’s growth down close to the primary vine (cordon) so that our vineyard crews can go about more delicate pruning without having to deal with 3-4 feet of stiff, whipcord vine above their heads.  In the past the process of pre pruning took 2 full walking passes and 2 full tractor passes through the entire vineyard to complete.  (more…)


A Walk Through the Caves with our Winemaker

 

Halter Ranch Vineyard

In the Caves

 

It has been an eventful week in westside Paso Robles:

This past Wednesday our accountant Julie Whitmore had the privilege of setting the final stone in the rock facing around our eastern cave entrance.

 

Caves - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Julie places the final stone

 

We achieved a full inch of rain with Superbowl Sunday’s storm and now we only need about 25 more to reach normal rainful.  Keep up those dances and downpour wishes for us!  According to local weather guru John Lindsey, our next opportunity for some serious rainfall is late next week.

Given how busy our schedules are, it is not often that I get to tour the caves and taste through upcoming vintages with Kevin. As such, when the opportunity presents itself I fall deep into ‘sponge-mode,’ absorbing as much information as possible to share in the tasting room and here on the blog.  Much of the discussion on this latest venture into the caves centered around the inherent variability throughout winemaking and the ways we account for that variability from vintage to vintage.  As the process begins in the vineyard each spring, every condition from the angle of sunlight, to the number of leaves on the vine, to the specific conditions of the ecosystem in and among the vines affects the final wine.  The more time I spend in the industry the more I become hyper-conscious of the vast potential for variation wine to wine and vintage to vintage.  Kevin opened by stating that vintage variation in the vineyard, coupled with experimentation in the type of oak and other fermentation vessels we use, accounts for the particular style, or more accurately, styleof wine we produce each year.

 

Caves - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Blurry Thieving

 

As I accompanied Kevin and two industry guests through the caves and listened to him articulate the fact that barrels also have a massive potential to impact the wine and huge variance themselves between forest of origin, cooper (who made them), their size, the thickness of the staves, and their toast level. Potential for variation encourages innovation both with a mind toward keeping a degree of consistency in style from year to year and in making slight changes toward continued honing and improvement of the wine we produce.  I suppose what I’m saying is that the more time I spend in the industry, seeing different choices and the effects of small details in the wine, the more I appreciate a wider variety of wine, and the more I want to share that variety with others.  Kevin states openly that a huge advantage of our operation and the philosophy behind it is the fact that we have the resources and the desire to make and wide variety of wines and to present them to our customers.  I find myself thinking that this honest truth, this innovative mindset, is a major part of what makes Halter Ranch and our wines so exciting.  In that spirit, having tasted a few of our upcoming vintages, I absolutely cannot wait to begin sharing them as it seems that with each year the overall message becomes a little more deliciously clear.

As I was typing this I received a phone call from Lucas out in the vineyard informing me that a pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) were gracing the Halter Ranch Pond.  Fifteen minutes after the phone call, I caught these quick shots:

 

Caves - Halter Ranch Vineyard

At a Glance

 

As always, thank you for reading and check back next week for a look at a new and unique piece in the vineyard.  Cheers til then!

 

Halter Ranch Vineyard

Eagle In Flight


Bowl Day and Rain!

Rain - Halter Ranch Vineyard

The Rain Chain

 

Rain!?! What is that…?  It’s been so absent over the past year as to have become unfamiliar.  I know today’s focus will center around crowded living rooms in front of large HD televisions in many places, but for those of you with enough space in your vicinity do please dance a little jig and send in a mental request to the skies for a deluge.  All precipitation discussion aside, or tasting room is indeed open on this delightfully drizzly Sunday.

We can’t say that many of the staff onsite today swing too far in one direction or the other regarding the teams involved in today’s extravaganza.  That said, we have at least one ‘hawkish hyper-fan and a few Denver enthusiasts who we will refrain from naming to avoid incrimination.  Needless to say a bit of our energy today goes to support these mysterious compatriots.

In other news, we’ve begun offering charcuterie plates, both small and large (the larger is pictured below) that offer cheese, meats, nuts, a spot of fruit, delectibly warmed bread and our own Halter Ranch Olive Oil and Blackberry Balsamic.  At the moment, said plates are available only in the wine club lounge, though a few of the featured cheeses are available in the tasting room.

 

Rain - Halter Ranch Vineyard

New HRV Olive Oil and Balsamic with Bread

 

Do come visit us today whether for pre-bowl or in avoidance of bowl, we would delight in pouring for you!  And for all you avid superbowlers out there rooting for a team: luck and we hope your make-my-team-win rituals (whatever they may be-within the bounds of legality and social acceptance of course ‘ ) pan out.  Cheers!

 

Rain - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Large Cheese Plate

 

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