Post by Chris Turkovich


We are pleased to release our 2011 Syrah-Viognier. This is a very fun wine to make.  Because it is co-fermented. Meaning we harvest the Syrah and the Viognier at the same time and the blend is completed in the vineyard with the grapes.  Most of our wines are brought to the winery and fermented in separate tanks, then barrel aged in separate lots  and finally the wines are blended shortly before bottling. The Syrah-Viognier which is 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier from our Estate Vineyard is married in the vineyard and then grapes are co-fermented and the wine is then barrel aged as one wine.  This co-ferment is done to allow the floralness in the Viognier grape to contribute that character to the Syrah.  Also these two varieties are perfectly suited for each other. Not only does the floral character of Viognier shine through, but by allowing these two varieties to ferment together the resulting wine has a brighter hue of red.  Who would have thought a red and a white grape could to produce a brighter red than a red grape alone?

We are very pleased to announce our newest release of an old favorite; The Boss.  As always The Boss is a powerful blend crafted around the most important component Petite Sirah.  Every year we enjoy blending this wine. We taste through our cellar and select unique wines with character that can contribute to the final blend. This years blend includes contributions from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a touch of Tempranillo. This final blend consists of the darkest and richest wines from the cellar.  The Boss exhibits ripe plumb, blackberry and toasted gram cracker on the nose.  Black current and dark fruit dominate the pallet and finishes with velvety round tannins. Once again the Boss delivers.

Blend: 82% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon,  2% Tempranillo

Aging: 36% New American and Hungarian Oak

Production: 426 cases

The journey of our Barrel Select Tempranillo began in September 2009 the fruit was harvested at the peak of ripeness. The juice was divided into small fermentation lots and multiple yeasts were used to create this superb wine. The wine was aged in a number French and American oak barrels. Some new oak barrels an some as many and six years old. Wine ages differently in different barrels, thus aromas and flavor develop differently. After the wine has barrel aged at least 12 months we taste every barrel. From this tasting we score and select the best barrels to create the barrel selection blend. The wine then aged another 6 months in barrel for a total of 18 months in oak. The wine was then bottled unfiltered to retain all the fruit aromas, structure and uniqueness.

It looks like we are headed into a drought period for Northern California. There is still time for a wet spring but for now we are still irrigating the vineyards and staying busy in the fields. One positive outlook for all the dry weather is we have been able to begin construction on our new winery. Located just a few miles north east of Winters we have begun transforming what was a productive tomato field just five months ago. There is not much to see now only a cleared area where the new building will soon go. But a few weeks of dry weather will allow for some quick progress. So a little rain is much needed but if stays dry we will not let the opportunity pass-by.

We are all finished up with the 2010 Crush. All the grapes have been harvested, crushed and the press has been retired until next year.  A few difficult lots remain in the tanks as we coax them along and begin monitoring malolactic fermentation. The rest of the wine has been barreled down to the cellar.

The year has been a cool one; state-wide temperatures have been mild this summer which delayed the grapes development in the vineyard. We experienced varieties ripening anywhere from two weeks to a month later then in previous years.  I am extremely pleased with the quality of the fruit of our first crop off the estate: The Button & Turkovich Vineyard. I have been anxiously waiting a few years to start making wine from the Roussanne and Mourvedre blocks as well as a new clone of Tempranillo.  While some cooler growing regions in California struggle, in Winters, the fruit has been some of the best in recent years. Our vines had plenty of time to develop rich, full flavors while the cool weather meant the grapes held onto the bright acidity.  All in all, the 2010 vintage could produce the best wines to ever come out of the Winters area.

A few weeks ago while filling barrels in the cellar, it became apparent that there was something missing in the winery. The winery felt cold and dark, (while great for wine) it was not the greatest working environment. Turning the music on helped (a little Jackson Brown will improve any day). But there was still something missing. The winery just was not complete. It just needed a little more personality to help us make truly great wine. I after a few days of reflection we solved the dilemma. The winery was missing just that… personality. And what is the quickest way to add personality? A puppy!

I present to you our official winery dog… Bode.

Bode… Short for Bodeguera, which means Cellar Worker in Spanish is a perfect fit.

Although she was a bit young to help us with our bottling day last week, she has perfected the art of chewing on corks. She recently found her favorite place in the winery for a quick nap; a small, plastic harvest picking box in the corner of the lab. The puppy prefers the vineyard to the winery, after all she is a German Shorthair Pointer and the quail in the vineyard are much more exciting than the Peter, Daniel hand labeling the new Tempranillo.

With the weather cooperating we arrived at the vineyard a little before 7am.  It was clear and cold but the sun was out all day which was a nice contrast from the last few weeks of overcast weather.  After a brief meeting to discuss pruning everyone set-off down there individual rows.  A few cuts are made to remove the older canes from last year’s canopy then a few more precision cuts are made to reduce the wood down to one bud.  Typically we would leave two buds for each spur, however because this year will be the first year we harvest a crop from the B&T Vineyard we want to insure a small crop.  With one bud and vines planted in 6X8ft spacing we will be shooting for crop yields of 1.5-2.5 tons to the acre depending on the block and variety.

We worked our way through the vineyard and the sun began to warm-up the landscape.  It was a beautiful sight the vines began to ‘sweat’ or bleed water from the freshly cut wood.  Beads of water pooled up on the exposed wood and would drip off and fall to the vineyard floor.  A peaceful sight as hundreds of vines soaking sun show the first signs of spring.  This action while ever so slight shows us the vines are starting to wake from the winter long dormancy.  While the buds have not started to break (the official start of the growing season) the vines are starting to become active. The roots are now applying upward pressure and starting the season long movement of water and nutrients from the soil up into the vine.  With a few more warm days the buds will begin to swell and the new the vineyard will burst into action.

Come visit the Winery & Tastingroom

We are celebrating the Grand Opening of our new Winery and Tastingroom.  The cellar door will be open we invite you to come see where we make the wine.  The tastingroom is now open for sampling the current releases as well as the cheeses of the Winters Cheese Company.  Come visit all Downtown Winters has to offer next weekend.

February 19th-21st

Grand Opening Hours:
Friday 12-9pm
Saturday 12-9pm
Sunday 12-5pm

Hope to see you then!

Chris Turkovich