Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nevada County (California) - 2014 Vintage Report from Sierra Starr Vineyards

Anne Starr in the Grass Valley
tasting room of
Sierra Starr Vineyards

Jackson Starr of Sierra Starr Vineyards, Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemaker, sends along this very informative 2014 Vintage Report.    Sierra Starr Vineyards is located in Grass Valley, CA, and is part of the growing number of quality vineyards in Nevada County, CA.  You can learn more about them on their website (click here)



2014 was an exciting and extremely busy vintage here at Sierra Starr Vineyards.  The vintage began nicely with warm and dry conditions in month of April.  Although we certainly would have liked to see more rain during the rainy season, here in Grass Valley we did see 36+ inches of rain.  The cool, wet weather retreated to a warm dry spring and we saw bud break 7 days earlier than normal (what ever normal is anymore) on April 14th with the Sauvignon Blanc being the first variety to push.  Diligent canopy management began quickly after bud break to focus energy and promote growth. Soil nutrient tests were conducted on different vineyard blocks, pre bud break, to asses current soil nutrient attributes and deficiencies.  From these findings a very specific fertigation and irrigation program was designed and implemented to maximizing vine performance while still adhering to our gentle farming practices.  We escaped late spring without any frost incidents (knock, knock), and bloom began first in the Sauvingon Blanc on May 22, again keeping this season’s growing trends about 1 week ahead of average.  The Zinfandel followed on May 25th and the Cabernet Franc the week of June 1st.



With verasion beginning the second week of July we knew harvest would certainly be commencing quicker than anticipated.  And we were not disappointed.



Harvest began August 19th with the first of two Sauvignon Blanc picks.  Our First Zinfandel pick of the vintage fell on September 9th, which is 2 days ahead of last year and about 3 weeks ahead of the old normal.  On September 24th with rain looming, the Starr family, Phil, Jack, and Anne picked 3 ton of Petite Sirah (by themselves) in a 13 hour marathon, but hey, we got it in before the rain!  The Cabernet Franc, our last variety to harvest, was picked on October 3rd to immediate accolades by both Phil and Jack due to the intense development of color and flavor.   



The 2014 vintage yielded wines with intensity and freshness. These aspects are emphasized by the balance of sugars and firm acidity achieved in the winery.  We feel this is truly a symptom of our very intense farming and our vineyard site, blessed with dry days, lots of warm sun, and cool nights.   



It is also worth noting that our estate vineyards expanded during the 2014 vintage.  With the addition of 900+ new vines (about half of our new hillside), we certainly feel the expression of our vineyard site is worth exploring and expanding.  In doing so we took on two new varieties including Semillon and Riesling.  Also expanding our holdings with varieties that have showed promise for us, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet. 

We at Sierra Starr are extremely excited and proud of the wines produced from the 2014 vintage and wait anxiously for their development in cask and tank before bottling down the road. 



The Starr Family