It is an exciting time here at the Winery, as harvest officially begins today, September 1st! The weather this past August has been perfect. Cool temperatures and a persistent layer of fog has given the grapes the “hang time” they need to develop intense aromas and flavors while preserving natural acidity, which is a hallmark of fruit from the Russian River Valley.
Leading up to harvest I have enjoyed getting out into the many different vineyards we source fruit from that need repeated visits. Early on the visits are visual inspections looking at overall vine health and vine balance. Recently it has been grape sampling visits. I will walk the vineyard pulling cluster samples that will be taken back to the lab and analyzed for sugar and acidity levels. Although, analysis is just part of the picture. The grapes must taste good to! I look for ripe flavors and ripe tannins.
A flask of freshly pressed fruit ready to be analyzed
One aspect I enjoy is experiencing the different Pinot Noir clones we grow on our Estate vineyard. A grape clone is a cutting taken from an existing grape vine and grafted onto a root stock. The cutting will be identical to its “mother” vine.
We have 8 acres of Pinot Noir consisting of four clones. Three Dijon clones – 667, 777, 115 and one Pommard clone – 04. These clones each exhibit specific characteristics as explained below:
- Pommard 04
- Intense fruit and spice, well rounded. Consistent quality year after year. Balance of flavors, acidity, and tannins.
- Dijon 667
- Aromatic and tannic finesse. Red fruit and supple tannins.
- Dijon 777
- Combination of finesse and power. Smaller clusters, darker fruits, and firmer tannins.
- Dijon 115
- Perfume and structure. Red vibrant fruit, vibrant acidity, and softer tannins.
The various Pinot Noir clones found in our Estate vineyard
The ripening development will track slightly different on all the different clones, so we must sample them and test them all separately. We’ll even harvest and ferment them separately to ensure we get a perfect ripeness level on each unique expression of Pinot Noir.
Blessing of the Grapes
Every year for the past ten vintages we have had the pleasure of having Rabbi Miller from Congregation Beth Ami perform our “Blessing of the Grapes”. Rabbi Miller was able to commemorate this vintage with several prayers, each year slightly different than the last. I’d like to share the prayer that Rabbi Miller read for us this year.
Rabbi Miller performing the “Blessing of the Grapes”
Source of Creation
As we pause for a moment in the midst of our labor
we take the time to marvel at the vast array of nature’s miracles:
the effects of climate, of sun and shade,
rain and temperature;
all the potential bound up in a tiny seed;
the nutrients laying buried in the soil,
and the ability of each plant to find
its own unique sources of nourishment.
At this time we acknowledge, especially,
The amazing process of fermentation;
The knowledge of which You have shared with us.
So that as human beings,
We can extract
So many of those secrets
Hidden in this unique fruit.
Beyond this you’ve given us
The ability to experience
All the consequent subtleties of flavor
Which add such a unique pleasure and joy
To our lives.
O Lord we thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed on this winery over these last years.
We seek Your Divine blessing on all their work.
May Ron and Pam, their family and all those who labor with them here,
Find favor before You.
Grant them success at the great task in which they are engaged.
May they add happiness to the lives of many in all the years ahead.
Rabbi Miller with Ron and Pam Rubin
We enter harvest this year with a sense of gratitude – thankful for all the positive things we have in our lives and looking forward to a phenomenal harvest!
On behalf of the entire team here at Ron Rubin Winery, we wish you all continued good health!