Posts tagged syrah grapes
Hail to the Winemaker!
My Husband, John, Enjoying a Glass of Provence Rose

My Husband, John, Enjoying a Glass of Provence Rose

This year is our 10th year or 10th Anniversary of our backyard Syrah vineyard at our home, Domaine de Manion. I remember the day vividly, April 1, 2006, when our entire Vineyard Production & Management Class (Mira Costa College) of 20 people enthusiastically helped us plant nearly 300 bare root grapevines. Initially a landscape solution I dreamed up, as our family and friends can attest it has turned into so much more.

Vineyards are a lot of work, filled with commitments and year-long timetables, not just a romantic lifestyle. John and I took many classes, workshops, and seminars to educate ourselves on our vineyard and winemaking adventure. Some grape growing years were better then others. Some vintages better than others. Although grapevines are like weeds, they can be a magnet for disease, pests, and are sensitive to weather surprises. 

As we became more confident with our vineyard and winemaking we started entering amateur wine competitions, beginning with San Diego and Orange County Fairs, and recently the California State Fair in Sacramento. We have bought different grape varietals from Baja and Sonoma County to experiment and blend with our Syrah. 

Through all of the years and accolades, John has emerged as a talented winemaker. I add my two cents, labor, and tasting notes, but it is John who puts his signature on all of our wines. Wine- making is a balance of science and art. It is true, a winemaker has a distinct style which comes through in their wines. John creates bold wines, smooth, chewy, sometimes spicy, and with a long finish.

We recently received the unexpected Home Wine Judging Results from the 2016 California State Fair, and more fair results should trickle in by early summer. Entering the "Dry Red Division" we received Double Gold, Best of Class for our Merlot, Silver for our Syrah, and Gold for our Merrah (a magical combination of Merlot and Syrah.)

The best part of making our wine is sharing it with family and friends. We are grateful for all who eagerly help us harvest and bottle each year. Hail to my husband, John, the Winemaker!






Syrah Grape Shows Its True Color

Ripening Of The Grapes Here at Domaine de Manion, our backyard syrah vineyard, it is late summer and our syrah grapes are showing their true color. Our syrah grapevines have a full vegetative leaf canopy, perfectly formed grape clusters dangle from their shoots, and now the veraison process begins. Veraison is the phenomenon of grapes transitioning in their development from hard to soft in touch, and their color transitions from green to their harvest color, depending on the grape varietal. Syrah, our vineyard grape varietal, is a very dark, inky black color when ripe and at harvest time. In the above photo you can see the color transition happening among the individual grapes.

In this process, the grape's sugar level will slowly begin to rise. Regular testing of your grape sugar content with a refractometer helps monitor your harvest time frame.

When grapes transition from green to their varietal harvest color of yellow, pink, red, or black, it is a signal to birds and wildlife, a food source is available and ripening. Netting your grapevines is invaluable in protecting your grapes from birds, raccoons, deer, and wildlife in general. Even our beloved chickens love the ripening grape clusters, jumping nearly a foot to reach the clusters, if they are not netted.

Our netting system is simple. Measure out netting the entire length of each of your grapevine row, and allow 3' on each end to secure the netting ends. Throw the entire netting over both sides of your grapevine row, and clip at bottom with wooden clothespins at spaced intervals. These nets can be used year after year, if rolled up and secured away in a safe place until needed the following year. Netting your backyard vineyard ensures your entire year's efforts and crop will not be lost. Netting is particularly important to the backyard vineyard, which is generally isolated, versus commercial vineyards where there are acres and acres of growing grapes.

It is an exciting time of year, harvest is in a matter of weeks. Do you have a backyard vineyard? Do you net your grapes from wildlife?