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suisun valley

2017 Harvest Outlook for Suisun Valley, Lodi, and Central Valley

Suisun Valley Harvest Outlook

Everything is maturing along in Suisun Valley. We are seeing verasion come to end in varieties such as Merlot and Sangiovese. Petite Sirah, Cabernet 169, and later varieties are still going through the verasion process. Looking at the maturity level of the grapes harvest should start around September 4th in Suisun Valley – beginning with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The next varieties to pick will most likely be Merlot around September 10th and, Sangiovese, and Malbec around September 16th. The later varieties such as Petite Sirah and Cabernet 169 should harvest around late September/early October.

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Interested in the weather in Suisun Valley? Click here to see what our weather stations are picking up on a daily basis!

 

Lodi Harvest Outlook

Overall the Lodi crop looks great. The rain helped strengthen the deep roots this winter, which allowed the vines to grow a vigorous canopy. The big canopies from the record rain fall has protected the grapes from the summer heat. Therefore, it should be an average to slightly below average crop this year. Most varieties look normal, however Cabernet and Zinfandel look to be low slightly lighter than last year. The Lodi appellation is made up of mostly sandy loam soil and unlike the Central Valley they get constant cooler temps in the evenings. This area experiences 40 degree swings in temps that help with coloring the grapes and the skins are thicker which produce a dark juice high in tannins. This is why the region is famous for its delicious Zinfandels and Italian grape varieties!

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Central Valley Harvest Outlook

With the extra rain fall Central Valley is looking to be a great harvest. The crop looks to be about the same as last year and we should be harvesting about 4-6 days later than last year. We anticipate some of the Central Valley fruit to start shipping to the East Coast around August 28th. Get your crushers ready!!

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We should have an updated harvest report pertaining to Paso Robles, Napa/Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Washington State next week. Keep an eye out for our next email.

There is a lot going on at Musto Wine Grape Company and we are looking forward to seeing you on August 26th for Customer Appreciation Day.

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Cheers to making your favorite wine!!

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 9 – How long will my wine last?

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What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

How long will my wine last?

All wine ages differently. Certain varietals benefit from aging, others are meant to be consumed quickly. Generally, the more tannic the wine, more it will benefit from aging. Other factors influence a wine’s potential to age as well. If the winemaker chooses not to add sulfites to the wine (not recommended), the wine will not age as well and should be consumed within a year. If the proper level of sulfites are added, the wine stored at an appropriate temperature (55-62 degrees Farenheit), and not exposed to light, it should be able to age for many years. Some varietals that benefit from aging are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. Some varietals that do not necessarily benefit from aging are Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cayuga.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Brix Tests at Lanza-Musto Vineyards

Brix Tests at Lanza-Musto Vineyards                          

Mini Harvest Report

It looks like Mother Nature is excited to get her winemaking on because the grapes are ripening early and fast! Download our E-Book for the ENTIRE list of wine grapes and juices we will be bringing in this fall HERE –> MWG_2016 Harvest Menu E-Book

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Mini Harvest Report:

Central Valley & Lodi: Brix are in the high teens. We are expecting to have grapes in Hartford, CT as early as September 7th.

Suisun Valley, Paso Robles, Contra Costa, Amador, Sonoma, and Napa: The whites will be harvest on September 1st and should be to Hartford, CT on September 7th. The red grapes are maturing well. The Brix are creeping up there. We think that we are still on track for a September 15th harvest date, with the grapes arriving in Hartford, CT as early as September 20th.

Juices: California juices will start arriving on September 7th. We hope to see the Italian juices sometime in the first week of October.

Prices: The grape and juice prices will be available by August 16th. Please give us a call at the office to secure your order.

We look forward to working with you this fall. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 877.812.1137 or sales@juicegrape.com

A taste of Italy from Lanza Musto Vineyards

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{Lanza-Musto Brunello Clone Sangiovese going through veraison}

Can’t make it to Tuscany this year? Don’t worry, you can make some fabulous Sangiovese right here in the US! Lanza-Musto Vineyards has been producing Brunello Clone Sangiovese for the past 4 vintages. One of the big reasons we planted this varietal is because the valley provides hot days and cool nights. The temperature can swing over 50 degrees depending on the time of year. Sangiovese eats this type of weather up! This high producing varietal soaks up the sun and enjoys the break under the cool night air.

When producing Sangiovese wines keep in mind that even though it is a bold tasting wine, it can easily be overtaken by oak infusions. Both the Musto Wine Grape Co. and Winemaker Magazine suggest using small amounts of oak or aging your wine in neutral barrels. The oak flavoring can overpower the wine and you will lose the delicate acidity and  bright cherry notes that Sangiovese is known for. Also, blending in a little LMV Barbera or Merlot can help give it a little extra structure and complexity. 

Since Sangiovese originated in Italy, the wines pair famously with anything tomatobased. We suggest pasta, pizza, or any meat dishes that have a tomato sauce. Frank Musto from Musto Wine Grape Co., LLC. personally enjoys his Sangiovese with Pepe’s Pizza from New Haven, CT or a great Chicken Marsala.

Sangiovese is one of the hottest up and coming varietals being produced in the United States. Make sure to secure your order of Brunello Clone Sangiovese for Fall 2016. You will not be disappointed!

Cheers and Happy Winemaking!

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{Lanza-Musto Brunello Clone Sangiovese ready to ship to Musto Wine Grape Company}

Lanza Musto Chardonnay

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The 2016 vines are happy to see the sun after 10 days of rain!

Lanza-Musto Malbec is “Best of Class”

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According to WineJudging.com our 2014 Wooden Valley Malbec, made with Lanza-Musto Grapes is “Best of Class“. Congratulations to the Lanza-Musto and Wooden Valley Winery Team!

Any Home Winemakers entering their 2014 Lanza-Musto Malbec’s in the competitions this year? You might end up with a “Best in Show”!

Lanza-Musto Barbera

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Our Barbera is flourishing in Suisun Valley. The wine has given off notes of dark cherry, plum, and boysenberry. We used a slight amount of French Oak to enhance the supple tannins and hints of vanilla. Make sure to pick up a few cases this week to make at home! We suggest using BRL97, L-2056, and VRB yeasts. Happy Winemaking! :)

Bring on the Bordeaux! – A Home Wine Making Experience (6)

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And we are ready to go! First, we need to sanitize the press. We don’t want any gross microbes to get into our fabulous wine. Second, we shrink wrap the press to make sure the juice doesn’t squirt out at us. Third, we transfer the must into the press and let the press do it’s thing. Finally, we transfer the juice from the press to the stainless steel tank where we will be aging the wine until we decide to barrel age or add more oak additives.

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You can see all the tubes attached to the press above. This is because we decided to use a bladder press. Bladder press’s are easy to use and don’t press the must too much. If you press too hard you run the risk of breaking the seeds and releasing astringent flavors. The bladder press has a happy medium of extracting optimal juice while maintaining the quality of the juice.

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And now we wait… Thanks again for stopping by. Next time we will rack our wine. Stay tuned!

Side Note: Don’t Press in November, It’s Cold!!!!

Winter in the Vineyard

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Right now the vines are dormat and enjoying a little sleep. If you drive through the vineyard areas you will see different types of grass and flowers growing in between the rows. These plants are not randomly growing in the rows. They were planted there for a reason (and no it’s not just because they look pretty). These plants are called cover crops.

Cover crops help protect and enrich the soil in a variety of ways. They help regulate vine growth, protect soil from erosion, improve soil fertility, draw away the abundant moisture, help with air quality, and introduce beneficial insects to the soil and vine.

The photos you see above are from Lanza-Musto Vineyards. At Lanza-Musto Vineyards we planted three peas, crimson clover, mustard, and oat throughout the rows. These are all full of nitrogen and other nutrients. Some rows have more crops planted than others. For example, the younger vines have the three peas mix because the younger vines need more nutrients. Where as an older vineyard might have a mustard mix.It is important to remember that vineyard maintenance does not start and end at harvest time. There are many things that need to be done in the vineyard throughout the year to ensure the vines produce quality fruit.