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Carménère - the almost extinct Bordeaux grape rediscovered in Chile

Chile is the wine country that can brag about rediscovering the Bordeaux grape Carménère. I visited wineries there in January and got a very warm welcome and a cool story. After the phylloxera bug killed off a lot of the vineyards in Europe in the late 19th century the Carménère grape was not replanted in Bordeaux since it was already hard to get to flower and ripen in the cool and humid Atlantic climate. It was thought to be mostly extinct when it was rediscovered in 1994 in Chile. The warm and dry climate in the middle of Chile has proven ideal for this grape and beautiful wines are produced now that the varietal is allowed to ripen to its potential. Read on for more on this story and some winery reviews.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Water, soil, sun and wine flavor

The amount of rain and how well it stays in the soil as well as how much sun the grapes get, all impact the flavor of the wine. After a rainy winter the season is just getting started with bud break and both past, present and future weather will impact the flavor of 2019 wines.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Why we prune vines in different shapes - vineyard talk

Left to their own devices grape vines can grow to be 100 yards long in the wild. Like all vines they use ground formation, trees and other plants to climb up and find sun or along the ground to spread out. The trunk of a cultivated vine is the result of extensive pruning. Some of the trellis systems even look like ballerinas!

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Water, flooding and vines

What about all this rain the past months and your vines? That is a question I have been getting a lot lately. Since October we have had 68 inches of rain, which is over 50% more than our normal rainfall. As a matter of fact northern California is now officially drought free. But there are also consequences such as erosion and damaged vines.

Written by Katarina at West Wines

Vineyard tour - a winemaker's treat to herself

A big treat for me, any time of the year, is to walk through our vineyards and the surrounding landscape of forests and fields. Right now the small embryos of grape clusters have been through bloom but are still hard and green. This time of the year the bees are busy and patches of flowers have come alive, each with a humming chorus. Especially the lavender turns the bees just crazy and they seem drunk as they plunge in. Gnarly vines, wild turkeys, a fox, grape trucks and fermenting fruit are some of the things I encounter depending on the season.

Written by Katarina at West Wines
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