Blog

The 2018 Harvest is Complete

Everything came off as anticipated and all the wines finished fermentation and are now beginning their ageing process in French Oak barrels. Come by our Holiday Open House on Dec 15th and sample out of the barrels with winemaker Michael!

October 10, 2018 – The day before harvest at the estate!

Harvest 2018 is Just Around the Corner

Chateau Margene vineyard right before harvest 2018

With Summer winding down and harvest approaching, we are busy in the vineyard and preparing the winery.  The grapes on our estate vineyard look exceptional with Stella’s Vineyard (back blocks) in its 4th leaf.  Next year will see Michael’s Vineyard (front blocks) in full production.

This week we are doing our final cluster thinning and putting up nets to keep the birds from eating the fruits of our labor.  Extended high temperatures in August had us push back our morning side leaf thinning until August 17th to protect against sunburn.  Yesterday we had the crew drop fruit where bunches were too tightly grouped and also where there was not sufficient leaf canopy to properly ripen the clusters.

cluster thinning harvest 2018 Chateau Margene

This morning, we are installing netting.  The grapes will now be more exposed to the sunlight to aid in the ripening process and we are 95% through veraison (color change from green to purple).  We are absolutely stoked with how the vineyard is progressing and are looking to the last week in September for our harvest dates on the estate vineyard.  The Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs for the Mooney Family and El Pistolero labels will be harvested the week of  the 17th.


This is the season to get ready for next season

Prepping the vineyard for the 2018 growing season.

prepping the vineyard soil for 2018 vintage Chateau Margene

Holidays are done and now the work in the vineyard starts up again with prepping the soil.  A few days after a nice light rain,  we are discing/rolling the dirt so we can drill the seeds (barley, oats, bell beans, peas) which will make up our cover crop.  This will be the main nutrient addition for the season as we adhere to our organic and sustainable practices.


Harvest Wind Down

The 2017 harvest was a bit of a challenge with some extreme heat, but we were able to bring in all of our Cab Sauv, Cab Franc & Pinots with very solid results. Ripeness, balance (our key drivers) look exceptional. We did do triple sorting to ensure no “raisined” grapes made it into tour fermentaion bins. Overall, 2017 looks to be a great vintage


Harvest has Started

Our Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir will be the first fruit off for the 2017 season. In the midst of a record breaking heat spell, this vineyard in Santa Barbara County has still gotten its early morning fog, up until the last few days. Grapes look really good with excellent balance and flavors.


Estate vineyard holding well in the 100+ temps

Our deficit irrigation practices have us limiting the amount of water the grapevines receive.  We did water just prior to the heat spike and the vines are cruising through in great shape.  Flowering is done and we are moving towards berry set.  Next week we will be shoot thinning.


Upcoming events the next two weekends

The Pacific Coast Wine Trail will be pouring at Centrally Grown in Cambria on May 13th.  Michael will be there to share his wines.

The Paso Robles Wine Festival and the SLH GALA XI are being held on Saturday, May 20th.

Chateau Margene/Mooney Family will be pouring at both.  Michael will be at the Santa Lucia Highlands event and Cate and Will be at the Paso Robles event.

See our Events page for more details.


Finally, a Good Rain Season in Paso Robles!

The heavens finally broke through with lots of rain for all of us here in California.

At the Chateau Margene estate winery, we were 50% above historical average and 70% over the last four years’ average. The rains came at a great pace to allow for the vineyards to let it soak in between storms. The entire soil profile has been flushed of salt build-up and the cover crops, (barley, peas, oats and bell beans), exploded with growth. The vineyard dried out enough in the week of March 10th so we could get the tractor in and mow. All these nutrients will feed back through the soil and provide a lot of the vines’ nutritional requirements.

We are expecting the vines to come out charging this year and will probably need to make a few more passes this Spring to manage the canopy. Great expectations! Pruning happened March 17th and bud break should be the first or second week of April.

Stella’s Vineyard, (our back 3.4 acres), will be fully online this year with two clones of Cabernet Sauvignon (4 & 7) and Cabernet Franc clone 4. Starting in 2018, all of Chateau Margene’s wines will be estate grown right here in the Creston District AVA. The Pinot Noirs from both Mooney Family and El Pistolero will continue to come from the Santa Lucia Highlands and the El Pistolero and Roxo Port Cellars Bordeaux varietals will come from the Paso Robles AVA.

Chateau Margene vineyard after rain


Couple of Spring events coming up at the Chateau Margene Estate

March 18th, 12:00 – 5:00 pm    Sip, Smoke & Chocolates – port-style wines, Marich chocolates and our cigar lounge

April 15th, 1:00 – 4:00pm    20th Anniversary Celebration – new releases, gourmet appetizers, Library wines.  $25 per person

Call Cate at 805-238-2321 to make a reservation


Post Harvest Party Report

Saturday, November 19th at the estate.  A great time had by all.  Great food (Pacific Harvest Catering), Great music (Paso Wine Man Band) and some Great Wines (Chateau Margene, Mooney Family, El Pistolero, J Mooney & Roxo Port).  250 of our closest friends descended on the property to enjoy the day.  Perfect 66 degrees and sunny, with a light breeze.