Viticultural Record2019 Farming Practices
2019 Ample rainfall combined with warm growing conditions distinguished the 2019 growing season at Vine Hill Ranch, which culminated in a vintage that will be recognized for its opulence and breadth of character.
Record rainfall over the 2018–19 rainy season provided ample soil moisture to propel and invigorate vineyard canopies following a relatively late April budbreak. As a result of the late start, the vineyard witnessed minimal frost pressure. While significant rainfall was delivered in the month of May, little damage was incurred during bloom at Vine Hill Ranch. In all, the wet conditions would turn out to be one of the defining factors of the season, determining the size and quality of the 2019 crop.
Sunny days and warm temperatures, combined with significant efforts in the vineyard to manage vineyard canopies, promoted even cluster development. Focusing efforts to ensure that adequate light and airflow passed through the fruit zone, in order to provide optimal conditions for color and flavor development, we undertook more leaf and lateral shoot removal during the 2019 growing season than in most vintages.
The month of July brought us warming temperatures, with the balance of the extended 2019 growing season delivering several heat events that resulted in a crop of average yield, but with wonderful quality and opulent character.
Harvest at Vine Hill Ranch for 2019 was finished on October 20, completing an extended five-week harvest season. The lack of climatic extremes allowed for tremendous flexibility with regard to harvest decisions and subsequent varietal expression.
Prompted by the wildfires of 2017 and 2018 in Northern California, and a desire to effectively steward the oak woodlands and wildlands that complement the vineyard, we embarked on a long-term planning effort to ensure the sustainability of the 400 acres of watershed lands that embrace the estate vineyard.
Following harvest, Vine Hill Ranch’s 6.5-acre Block 5 was removed. Having completed only seventeen seasons, its removal was part of an ongoing effort to manage red leaf virus in the vineyard, with the objective of stewarding the balance of the vineyard well into the future. Composting throughout the vineyard continues to ensure the vibrancy of the rich gravel loam soils at Vine Hill Ranch, while selected cover crops provide needed tillage and stability from erosion through the coming rainy season.