Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
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Although harvest is one of the most exciting times of the year in the vineyard—signaling the culmination of a growing season and the anticipation of new wines— what happens on the ground after harvest is equally important. It sets the stage not only for the coming growing season, but for the health of the vineyard itself, and ultimately, the quality of future wines. "At harvest we’re farming the vine; immediately after harvest, as the vines enter dormancy, we farm the soil," says Vineyard Manager Kirk Grace.
Coming after last year’s unusual growing season with its abundance of spring rain and a very large crop size, we have for 2006 what is already shaping up as another atypical year for our Napa Valley vineyards.
Each January, our vineyard crew returns from their holidays anticipating the pruning season. Marcos Guzman, Salvador Solario, and Jesus Valdez stand in the leafless vineyard, arms folded, breath steaming in the cold air. As the men look out over the bare vines, each wearing his pruning shears in a sheath, the importance of their job is on their minds. Soon, they will begin pruning and shaping the vines to restrict vigor and create balance, setting the stage for ideal growing conditions.
As we prepare for harvest in the vineyard, we are trying to achieve balance in our vines. Vine balance occurs when a vine has reached the optimal leaf canopy size to ripen the fruit it carries. Each season contributes its own unique influence on vine balance. Vineyard design, which includes row orientation, type of trellis system, and spacing decisions, as well as soil types and climate, all influence the potential balance of the vine.
In November 2001, not long after Stags Leap District winegrowing pioneer Nathan Fay died at the age of eighty-four, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars purchased the seventy-seven acres adjoining the FAY vineyard from Nathan’s family, reunifying the lands that Nathan originally owned.
Estate Wine Library
Visit our Estate Wine Library where we share the original tasting notes from the winery as well as notes and comments from our winemaking team and collectors based on tastings over the years.