This is an enthusiastic grape-growing/wine-making family that is very characteristic of the Sierra Foothills wineries. (You can read more about this region in my soon-to-be-published book, Wineries of the Sierra Foothills. Want to be alerted when it publishes in January? Sign up here: www.wineriesofthesierrafoothills.com )
Sierra Starr has been producing wines for more than 20 years, and takes great pride in their small-lot wines produced from estate grapes. Their specialty is Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
And what a report - poetic and statistical all at once!
2015 Vintage Report:"The 2015 growing season has truly been one for the record books as far as Sierra Starr is concerned. While wide spread reports of California grape yields being down as much as 50% in some cases, we enjoyed perhaps the most fruitful harvest in 20 years. What follows are some details about what looks to be a very promising vintage for Sierra Starr Vineyards.
SpringOur vines awoke from slumber with bud break occurring in our 37 year old Sauvignon Blanc vines on April 1st, which was 14 days ahead of 2014 and around 3.5 weeks ahead of average (whatever that is anymore). We have a later bud break date than most of California, so this year we avoided much of the spring thunderstorm and moisture issues that negatively affected bloom, and therefore vineyard yields, through out the state.
SummerA warm to hot summer followed allowing fruit set and maturation to progress extremely smoothly, without any issues. Thanks to the help of a few brave souls, our vineyard was de-suckered and shoot thinned in a timely manner which allowed all the vines energy to focus on fruit maturation. Because our wells have held up nicely (knock knock) during this record drought, our vines did not suffer any significant water stress and were able to bring our fruit to ideal ripeness. Thankfully we were spared experiencing any fire or smoke damage from the numerous wildfires occuring in Northern California this summer.
HarvestOur harvest began earlier than usual, August 14th, with our Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit, picked at ideal ripeness over a 3 day period, attained a lovely balance of ripeness and acidity. Our Zinfandel harvest began on September 8th, and although these wines have barely been put to barrel we are very pleased with the dark colors and spicy flavors. The Cabernet Franc picking began on October 2, which is about average for this varietal here at Sierra Starr. We believe this varietal was not early this year due to the fact that it was hanging a considerably larger crop than normal, naturally delaying ripening a bit. We were immediately struck by the color and flavor intensity of this variety and were anxious to get it in the winery to see what we had.
ResultsLooking more closely at our yields we saw our totals up a whopping 17% on average! Our lowest increase being Zinfandel up around 9% and largest increase being Sauvignon Blanc, up around 20%. We attribute this increase to three things, warm dry spring with no threats to bloom, dryer and warmer conditions in our lower lying vineyard blocks which are normally challenged with cold and frost, and extensive shoot thinning and green harvesting. Let’s keep in mind that this increase will put our yields to about three tons per acre.As you can see we at Sierra Starr Vineyards are very pleased with the potential of the 2015 vintage and look forward to presenting our customers with outstanding quality, varietal clarity and a sense of place.
RegardsPhil, Anne and Jackson Starr"