Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir & Syrah
From Our Vineyard In The Sky
Muns Vineyard brushes the sky on a ridge above Monterey Bay at 2600 feet. This is the highest Pinot Noir vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a prime growing region for this luscious winegrape.
We enjoy the coastal climate of the mountains, with fog lapping at our feet in the summer. The cool coastal breeze that blows off the fog and sunlight are perfect for growing premium Pinot Noir. Moderate days and cool nights, along with diligent personal attention in our 13-acre owner-operated vineyard, produces fruit with rich and complex flavors. We have blended Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 to provide a fruit-forward, complex and well-balanced wine.
Minimal intervention in the winery allows our unique terroir to shine. Barrel aging in 30% new oak for about 16 months adds soft tannins that accentuate, but not dominate, the beautiful fruit in this special wine. The wine drinks well now and is a delicious complement with food, and will bottle-age for years to come. Enjoy ‘heaven-in-a-bottle’ from our ridge top vineyard above the bay!
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What’s Happening in the Vineyard: Mid-Summer
The 2017 vintage is in full swing. Bloom started early in June (a couple weeks later than usual); and now the fruit is set and on the path to ripening. We had a heat spell at the start of set, but the set looks very good and the crop load is looking very good. We anticipate netting early August to keep the birds away from the ripening fruit.
As anticipated with all the rain we had this winter (85″!), the canopy is flourishing and floor management this year has been a constant challenge. Ed mowed multiple times and with all the moisture in the soil the cover crop kept coming back. The crew weed whacked along and under the vines and hoed around each of them. The cover crop helps maintain healthy soils and attracts beneficial insects, but keeping cleared from under the vines helps reduce pressure from disease and pests. There has been so much mowed vegetation that it has made a nice thick mulch.
Budbreak in our vineyard is later than most in the area because of our elevation. The continued colder temperatures prolong dormancy, and this year was a couple of weeks later than usual. The buds were barely popping out as of early April but leafed out in earnest by about the second week. We had a little frost damage in the low swales where the cold air collects, which is not unusual for us in the Spring.
So far the 2017 vintage is looking excellent, and we have high hopes for it.
We had an amazing 85″ of rain this winter! 45″ of that fell in the first six weeks of the new year. Our ‘usual’ rainfall during a good rainy season is 30-40″. Our five years of drought in the state is now over. But even during the past few drought years we have had winters with a good amount of rain (35″ in 2012; 30″ in 2013; 20″ in 2014) – plenty for the vineyard. All this rain is good for replenishing the ground water supplies. What we do not want is for it to rain during bloom when it can inhibit fertilization and prevent fruit formation.
Although for a number of years we would get some snow every winter this year we have only had a few flurries that didn’t stick one evening early in March. (You can see some snow pictures on our Vineyard page here.) Frost is still a concern as has happened before in April.
The crew goes through two pruning passes: the first with a hedger along the first trellis wire to remove the long lengths of canes. This makes it easier to extricate them from the wires without potentially damaging the buds forming along the cordon. Then, they’ll come back and two-bud by hand along the cordon. You can see the photos above for an illustration.
2016 Vintage and Harvest
We harvested our Pinot Noir and Syrah over 5 days spanning an entire month (Aug. 23, Sept. 6, 10, 16 and 29). Harvest dates depend on the level of ripeness our winery clients want, and on differences in the vineyard. The fruit ripens faster or slower depending on the clone, and even in the same row, especially on the hills. Cool temps during most of veraison and the chilly nights extended hangtime for more flavor development in the grapes.
The yield this year is good – not what it was in the stellar years of 2012-2014, but a lot better than 2015 when vineyards throughout the state lost crop due to poor weather during bloom in the springtime. The 2016 vintage is beautiful! Big, juicy fruit full of flavor. This is a vintage to look forward to!
Autumn was beautiful, with the vines turning golden and orange and red. We feed the vines a good dose of nutrients after harvest to help them recover and store energy for the following Spring’s growth; and the winter dormancy gives them some rest so they can regenerate and produce fantastic winegrapes again next year.
See more on our Vineyard page here.