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.

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