Posts Categorized: Zinfandel



  1. Most grapes are harvested at night! Harvesting at night is easier on the workers and ensures a stable sugar level in the grapes, something that fluctuates when the temperature rises.


  1. The flavors of wine are affected by how long the grapes are on the vine. Grapes harvested earlier (typically whites) have lower sugar levels and higher acidity and make a crisp, tart wine. Red grapes hang longer for the complexity that comes from a more balanced sugar and acidity. Grapes for dessert wines are left on the vines the longest.


  1. It’s not the grapes that determine the color, it’s the skin. Skin contact when making wine is called “maceration” and the process extracts color and fruit flavor from the skins without any bitter tannins. Think of it like making a cup of tea and how leaving a tea bag in your cup affects the color and flavor.


  1. Rosé isn’t a grape variety like zinfandel or sauvignon blanc, but a style of winemaking using red wine grapes.  To achieve the pink shades found in rosé, a wine is kept in contact with the grape skins for just hours. You can learn more about the different styles of rosé here


  1. Sauvignon blanc was first planted in Dry Creek Valley by Dry Creek Vineyard founder, David Stare. This grape grows best in DCV due to the  mineral rich, well-draining soils and notable temperature change from day to night. known as the diurnal shift. Read more about Dry Creek Valley’s signature white wine.


  1. Today, nearly 2,200 acres of zinfandel are farmed in Dry Creek Valley, making it the top planted grape in the region. In the 1870s, Frenchman Georges Bloch planted the first zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley. By the 1880s, zin was the dominant grape planted across 900 acres of the region and continues to be to this day.  


Giovanni and John Pedroncelli

John Pedroncelli Sr. and his son John Jr. in the vineyard.

  1. After about age 50, a zinfandel vine is considered “old,” but at 50, zin may not yet be half-way through its life. In Dry Creek Valley, you will find vineyards with vines that are more than 120-years-old! Old vines contribute an intensity and complexity of flavor to the wine. Want to study up on Old Vine Zin? We got you covered.


  1. The top three components of a winemaker’s decision to harvest grapes are sugar, acid and tannin. Sugar and acid are measured with a refractometer while tannins are sampled by taste.


The traditional “blessing” of the first chardonnay grapes brought in at Amista Vineyards

  1. Cheers! Grapes for sparkling wines are harvested notably earlier than other grapes because winemakers are looking for a higher acidity. They are harvested with extra care as to not to disturb the flavors and minimize any harsh compounds that may be imparted from the skin of the grape. 


  1. Did you know that it takes a newly planted vineyard at least three years to produce fruit of a high enough quality to make wine? Add on a year or more after wine is made until that bottle is ready to drink! Good thing we’re patient – mostly because we know it’s worth the wait.


  1. Time for some harvest math:! Every vineyard acre produces roughly 1.5-7 tons of grapes. Every ton of grapes makes roughly 150 gallons of wine. One barrel of wine contains 60 gallons, which is about 295 bottles of wine (24 cases). There are ~30lbs of grapes per case of wine and ~2.4lbs of grapes in one bottle of wine. Phew – time for a glass!

Harvest is one of the best times to visit us in Dry Creek Valley.

Start planning your trip today.


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#SCHarvest14: September Update from Dry Creek Valley

harvest basket with white wine grapes

#SCHarvest2014: September Update from Dry Creek Valley

September is the busiest time for our wineries in Dry Creek Valley, with a fast and furious #SCHarvest14 season well under way. This year is expected to be a vintage of exceptional quality, with somewhat smaller yields than 2012 and 2013, but richly-pigmented, approachable reds and mouthwatering whites.  Some producers are calling 2014 the best vintage they’ve ever seen.

The king of Dry Creek Valley is zinfandel, where it thrives in the area’s unique climate, with long warm days that allow the fruit to fully ripen and coastal cooling breezes that enable the grapes to retain their acidity and balance through the process of maturation. Zinfandel loves hot weather, and this year delivered a warm spring and a very warm summer. In Healdsburg, there were multiple days in July and August reaching into the mid-90s, but monthly averages overall were around 81 degrees Fahrenheit. All grapes love a big diurnal temperature shift, and in July and August of 2014, daily lows were often more than 20 degrees cooler than daily highs.


Interview with a Grape Grower: Bob Littell of Treborce Vineyards

Interview with a Grape Grower: Bob Littell of Treborce Vineyards

Grape Growers and wine vineyard background

Bob and Joyce Littell holding the 2012 Treborce Vineyard Zinfandel from Wilson Winery, Double Gold Winner and Best Zinfandel at the San Francisco International Wine Competiton

Every day, Bob Littell goes for a walk through his Treborce Vineyards and inspects his vines, with pruners on his belt, tape in hand, and his dogs–German shorthaired pointers he rescued–for company. If he sees a problem developing, he can nip it in the bud, literally, or if he wants to keep an eye on a particular vine, he can mark it with colored tape so his vineyard manager and crew know to watch it closely. There’s a constant breeze in the vineyard in the afternoon, so Treborce Zinfandel grapes aren’t as susceptible to some of the challenges posed by the area’s prevalent fog.  Nonetheless, it takes continuous monitoring and hard work year-round to produce top-notch fruit, which is essential to making top-notch wine.

Treborce Vineyards, first planted in 1999, has been producing phenomenal Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes ever since. That’s why so many of the wines made from Treborce fruit have won awards. A relatively small property–a mere 10 acres of vines–has made a big impression in the wines of Dry Creek Valley.  We spoke to Mr. Littell about what it’s like to be a grower of wine grapes, his favorite vintages, and his impressions of Dry Creek Valley evolution in the 34 years he’s been there. (more…)

Summer Events At Dry Creek Valley Wineries: Part One

Summer Events At Dry Creek Valley Wineries: Part One

Summer, Summer, Summertime

With the summer finally upon us, there are plenty of palate-pleasing events going on throughout Dry Creek Valley at our member wineries. From gourmet barbecues to Hawaiian luau celebrations, oyster pairings to bicycle marathons through the heart of Sonoma wine country, there’s no shortage of joyous outings to be had here in Dry Creek Valley. And of course, plenty of delicious Dry Creek Valley wine to savor at each and every one!


Bud Break In Dry Creek Valley

Bud Break 7 Dry Creek Vineyard.jpg
Photo: Dry Creek Vineyard
 “Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s Nature’s version of Sleeping Beauty and it happens every year here in Dry Creek Valley and throughout Sonoma County wine country. As winter weather recedes and the days grow longer, our landscape begins to invigorate itself in the most magnificent ways, transforming dry patches of earth and darkened branches into blooms of color and splendor everywhere you look. And when it comes to the growth cycle in the vineyards, there is no clearer signal of Spring’s arrival than our annual rite of the “bud break”.


Four More Must-See Winery Themes For Dry Creek Valley’s Passport Weekend

Passport Photo.jpeg

Four More Must-See Winery Themes For Dry Creek Valley’s Passport Weekend

With Passport to Dry Creek Valley nearly upon us, we’re rounding out our Passport series with four more must-see wineries. For this incredible weekend, April 26th-27th, we’re revving up for a unique array of fun, food, games and live entertainment from Dry Creek Valley stalwarts Mounts Family Winery, Papapietro Perry Winery, Pedroncelli Winery and Seghesio Family Vineyards.


Four More Winery Themes for Dry Creek Valley Passport

Step one: purchase your Passport to Dry Creek Valley tickets for the weekend of April 26th-27th. Step two: start filling out your Passport to Dry Creek Valley itinerary… wait. Just wait…because you definitely want to hold off on finalizing the details until you’ve read about what Forchini Vineyards and Winery, Mill Creek Vineyards, Nalle Winery and Zichichi Family Vineyard have in store for you as part of this incredible weekend!