It's hard to believe but this year Doreen and Art are celebrating 20 years of being open to the public at St. Joseph Winery (though they
started growing premium wine grapes over 30 years ago). Doreen seems to look younger every year and Art, well let's just say he's still Art! Son Joe is now engaged to Halie, and daughter Carolyn's boys (our grandsons) are starting to get interested in, and help in the wine making process. Grandson Kevin did his science project on the effects of different strains of wine yeast on fermentation. No telling where this could lead!
We are now starting to release many of the fantastic wines we produced in 2016 and would like to acknowledge the stellar care provided by our vineyard manager Rick Kovacic and his crew, including Elise, Joey and
Josh, for the work they did in 2016 and again this year, which looks to be another great year. The crew could be seen all summer tucking shoots, plucking leaves to let in the sun as well as thinning the clusters
to reduce the crop load and help ensure another great harvest. As mentioned earlier this year we did see a frost at the 307 vineyard but the 528 site was untouched and is producing a full crop. The 307
vineyard is slightly behind the 528 vineyard, but looks to be producing a very nice crop of Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot and Sangiovese. Less is always better than more when it comes to quality.
you know that we have always tried to be innovative and willing to experiment. St. Joseph Vineyard (SJV) was the first winery in our region to grow and make Pinot Noir in 1986 (and win awards in
California competitions for our reds) and it is one of the few eastern U.S. wineries to be mentioned in "The Book on Pinot Noirs of North America".
Did you know that we were
also the first to make ice wine in the region (1997), and the first to grow several Italian varietals and produce "appassimento" style wines?
Now we are very proud to announce the release of another first for the region, the first to grow and produce a
grape from the country of Georgia called "Saperavi", planted and grown here by our longtime friend Joe Vidmar. The grapes, they say,
have ancient origin. Some say they predate the grapes propagated by the Greeks and Romans, going back 8000 years! Saperavi is a very unique
grape (it's pulp is uniquely red as well), producing a very dark red wine with notes of rich black fruits of plums and blackberries, licorice, green
olive and black pepper, and a finish of cherry blossom and rose. It was aged in Slavic / Hungarian Oak which imparted hints of dark chocolate and spice.
We are also pleased to release the 2016 whites, two of which were entered and medaled in San Francisco International competition. The first is the 2016 Chardonnay (Doreen's favorite), rich tropical fruit and apple
flavors with hints of vanilla and butterscotch from the American and French oak barrel aging. The other is our fruit forward Pinot Grigio with
honeysuckle, guava and other exotic flavors… a summertime favorite. Also available are two new Riesling releases full of fruit flavors too numerous to mention. We'll describe them in future tasting notes.
But wait there's more----- We have also introduced our 2016 Pinot Noir Reserve which is a "fruit bomb" full of bright cherry, strawberry flavors, aged in new French oak and one of the most aromatic pinots we have ever
produced. This pinot is reminiscent of the 2012 vintage with hints of cherry blossoms and roses.
One of our biggest reds ever produced is our 2016 Merlot. Typical in varietal characteristics bright red raspberry and currant flavors with hints of vanilla and plum.
Coming out later this fall we will be introducing another first for the region. Our "Corvina" grape, which is a
grape we planted several years ago but suffered through the winters of 2014 and 2015, but the great year of 2016,
brings it to fruition! Corvina is another little known grape we grow which is from Northern Italy and is used to
produce the wine "Amarone". It's still in the barrels so we don't have full tasting notes as yet. Also in the
barrel/pipeline for release this fall is the 2016 Grand River Valley Estate grown Sangiovese, a true super Tuscan
style wine, more intense than the 2013. Others to be released are the 2016 Shiraz and Cab Franc plus the wonderful 2016 Pinot Noirs.