about gelfand vineyards

Winter 2018

It’s cold out there – we are down in the low 50’s (I can see our east coast members laughing at this) so it’s a great time for me to update our Newsletter.

This past harvest was the best we have seen in many years. Was it because the prior years’ yield was so low? Or was it because of last years rainfall, the most we have seen in the past 7 years? Talk to 10 growers and get 11 different answers. But for whatever reason, we were thrilled. One thing for certain is that it wasn’t because of the warm temperatures. Last summer was long and HOT. More 100 degree days than I can remember. The grapes started to go through verasion early. Everyone in the area thought that this was going to be an early harvest….. that is everyone BUT Mother Nature. Grapes love the heat, but they hate the HOT. They have a built-in system that shuts down when temperatures exceed 95 degrees. ( very similar to Jan) . They may look like they’re thriving, but they cease producing any sugars.

So we waited, and waited, until finally, the sugars had increased to the levels needed to produce the kind of wines we are known for – BIG & BOLD. (France and in many other States allow winemakers to add sugar to accomplish this, but in California, its prohibited ---- ???) Unfortunately, many other growers in the area never got their grapes to sufficient sugar levels, and many crops were abandoned. Farming is a tough business.

One of the exciting things about this year’s harvest is that we picked the first of our Sangiovese and Tempranillo grapes. I also learned that our resident birds and squirrels also love those two varieties, helping themselves to over half of the yield. Live and learn; it will never happen again, as early preventative measures will be taken. What happened to the third new variety – our Malbec… fortunately, the birds and squirrels either didn’t like these grapes – they are either tougher skinned than the other two, or, they were to full to eat more. We ended up with 4 barrels of Malbec, enough for a club distribution next year. It’s a Big, Bold, Dark wine, and I can’t wait to release it, in that I know what to expect. The day after our annual club party (in ’16), while we still had our granddaughter’s captive, we picked the first of our Malbec grapes. They were only on two-year-old vines, and thought our efforts were just for fun. But were we in for a surprise….the wine turned out great!. I just finished bottling 35 cases of it (only 420 bottles) and my biggest challenge will be how to allocate them to our 900 club members.

In mid-September, we held our annual club blending party, where 250 members helped come up with the blends for our latest SFR and Menage a Bunch wines (yes, the Menage is back this year).

A great time was had by all, and the weather never exceeded 85 degrees ( and the paramedics only had to make one visit this year). And as you can see in the photos, some take this VERY seriously. Hope those members who have not been to one can make their plans for this year’s event, which will take place on September 22nd. More will follow later in the year.

January is always bottling time for us. After 15 months in new oak barrels, our ’16 vintage wines were all bottled, corked, labeled, and will be released in March. I have coined this vintage as ‘low quantity, high quality’. The best judges for the quality part came from the club members who showed up to lend a hand in the process. As each wine was being bottled, the crew helped themselves – all for quality control purposes – and with each wine, I heard many oohs, and aaahhs. And when 5 of them walked away with 27 cases for their own cellars, I knew I had another great release.

A short note on the Club River Cruise in April of ’19. The members’ response was overwhelming! Within 30 days, we sold out the entire ship!!! All 74 rooms – 148 people – will be GV wine lovers…. It’s going to be one fantastic event. Unfortunately, I have heard from a few members that they never received my note announcing this event. If you are one who falls into this category, it’s probably because your email provider and or browser either doesn’t like me – or more probably, because they think this was ‘spam’ mail in that the emails are sent out all at once – all 900 of them. So to avoid this in the future is to add my email address to your “trusted sites” list. But if you are still interested in this cruise, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. We are still 15 months away from setting sail and things change with those who have booked. So get on the waitlist by contacting Joan Sell, club member and cruise booking agent at j.sell@dreamvacations.com

2017 was another great year for us, and we are all looking forward to sharing 2018 with you. My one wish is that I would like for them to slow down…just a little. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to smell the roses.

Still Drinking the Dream

Jan & Len