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State of the Vineyard


Pruning the vines: January - February

Pruning the dormant vines gets underway in between cellar operations. Pruning in the hush of a gentle snowfall is the best mental health therapy you can find. In the cellar wines are being racked in and out of barrel to clarify them, with special attention given to keeping the wines healthy and making them stable.

January - February

Pruning the vines
January - February

Start of bud break: March - April

We finish pruning the vines and then hasten to position the canes on the trellis wires before bud break. Now is the time to worry about mountain frosts as the new season’s tender shoots push forth. Already we can see the potential of this year’s harvest while we gather and chop the winter prunings. Critical mildew prevention measures puts us out on the tractor in the early hours of the day.

March - April

Start of bud break
March - April

New cluster form: May - June

Bloom begins and the vineyard fills with a glorious scent which comes from the small, fuzzy-looking blooms. We pray for mild weather with temperatures of 70-85 degrees so that the self-pollinating vines will set fruitful clusters. Then the hardest vineyard period of the year begins. We remove interior shoots and thin excess leaves by hand in order to open the canopy to light and air. Holding the arms up all day is harder than you think.

May - June

New cluster form
May - June

Grapes go through veraison: July - August

Veraison commences and gradually transforms the berries from small green ball bearings to plump grapes with gold or red color. Irrigation concerns increase according to the heat and dryness of the summer. Routine maintenance of the drip system has us trudging all over the vineyard. Will the wells produce enough water to reach harvest? When the birds start eating them, it’s time to track the ripeness of the grapes.

July - August

Grapes go through veraison
July - August

Harvest and production: September - October

Our season builds to a crescendo in six frantic weeks of harvest and wine-making. Picking begins in the crisp coolness of the pre-dawn, and winery activity extends into the night. Sweet grapes are crushed to fermenters to become new wine which is pressed and pumped to the tanks. Autumn brings flocks of fun-lovers invading the local scene for pumpkins, fruit, apple pies and wine.

September - October

Harvest and production
September - October

Wine sits and thinks: November - December

The golden vines lose their leaves to early storms and settle down for a well-deserved winter’s nap. Our winery team hops to the cellar tasks. The procession of barrel-aged wines makes a trail through filtration and bottling, starting with the latest Port vintage. Then the clean wine from the new vintage is racked off the settled lees (aka gunk) and pumped from the tanks into 59-gallon oak barrels. Tasting and potential blending trials add interest (and discovery) to the work.

November - December

Wine sits and thinks
November - December


3405 Carson Court
Placerville, CA 95667




El Dorado Winery Association

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