The 2018 vintage was borderline exceptional. It was a growing season where our Purtteman estate vineyard flourished. Along with his winemaking responsibilities, Ray became grape grower. The purchase of a tractor, sprayer and mower made it official. No longer would any part of our estate vineyard’s care be turned over to anyone other than Ray or those working along side of Ray. The Native River Vineyard produced it’s first crops of Petite Sirah and Syrah and they were outstanding. The Stone Tree vineyard fruit grown for us was also superb. All in all, 2018 was a phenomenal year.
The Winter: Winter temperatures were cold yet not too cold with the low being 7 degrees. At no time were the vines in danger of winter injury. With copious amounts of snowfall in January and March, there were healthy levels of snow pack. Athena, Caris and Ray got a lot of use out of their cross country ski equipment! Pruning in March was a cakewalk as temps ranged from 21 to 60 degrees. One only had to prune around the days it snowed or rained. Pruning was completed on schedule in late – March.
The Spring: Like clockwork, bud break occurred during the third week of April. April, May and June steadily less precipitation each month (April with about 1.7 inches finishing with 0.49 inch in June). There was a very close brush with spring frost as temperatures dropped to 32 degrees during the month of April. Ray broke in our new vineyard equipment employing our Organic spray program. As the soils warm in the amphitheater our vineyard site represents, the grape buds begin to swell. You see, the bowl shaped Purtteman estate vineyard retains warmth from the sun in it’s soil as it traverses east to west.
The Summer: Late – June, July, August and early September temps were warm topping out at 103 degrees. Other than early June, precipitation was almost nonexistent. This was a very good growing season. The issue of forest fires was a non-issue this growing season. Purtteman vineyard vines showed excellent growth this summer.
The Harvest: We purchased both American and French oak barrels. 1,400 cases worth of excellent quality grapes were harvested and crushed. Every source of fruit we made wine from showed exceptionally well. Ray was provided such high quality fruit that the task of making outstanding wine was made much easier!
Post Harvest: The yeast and malo – lactic fermentations are complete. The wine quality is fantastic. Excellent deep purple – dark ruby red hues as well as great structure present. The flavors and aromas found in all wines show just how well grown and ripe the grapes were. The 2018 vintage starts their 20 month barrel aging process.