about gelfand vineyards


Summer 2019


It’s been just 7 months since our last newsletter, but so much has happened during this time.  We finally experienced a wet winter – and this last one was one of the ‘wettest’ we have seen in a LONG time.  And best of all, it wasn’t from just a few storms… we had light showers/rain 3 and 4 days each week all winter long.  We normally prune our vines by the end of February but this year, it was so wet that we couldn’t get into the vineyard till mid March, which delayed bud break for at least a month.  On the positive side, the continual rains have leached the salts that have been accumulating in the soil during over the last few years.   And the vineyard shows it…..the vines are vibrant green, and the roses have never looked better.





And then came spring, or so we thought.  The first weekend of spring is Paso’s Zinfandel Festival.  This year we were treated with cool, gloomy weather, so unusual for our area.  Two months later , in mid May, we have our annual Wine Festival .  in prior years, Paso is usually sweltering by that time.  A few years ago, when we poured in the park downtown, it was 112 degrees that day… and the last thing you would want to do was to drink big red wines.  Fast forward to this year, where the high for the day reached 56 degrees – and that was in between rain showers.

All of these factors mean one thing….we are behind schedule with respect to grape production.  By mid June, our cabernet vines were still flowering.  It’s now early July and we are finally seeing our first 100 degree days.  Fruit production on all our varietals is prolific.  So much that we will be dropping about half our fruit come early August in order to get the sugar levels up in the remaining grapes, so our winemaker ( yes, that’s still me) can work his magic and produce the full bodied wines which have become our trademark.   This is shaping up to become one interesting and challenging year.



In January we bottled our ’17 vintage wines which were released in our two wine shipments this past March and May.  From the feedback we have received it appears that the ’17 Zinfandel is the crowd’s favorite thus far, with the others not far behind.  Our Syrah, which typically takes a year or two to come into its own, has come out of the box with a fast start ( and it’s the darkest Syrah I have made).  Our Cab and Petite Sirah were not far behind.  Sales have been brisk, but there is still some inventory available for this vintage.  And what’s really exciting is that in January, we also bottled our first Malbec, Tempranillo and Sangiovese Wines. It seems like only yesterday that I planted these vines.  Where did the last 5 years disappear to? These wines are all from just three year old vines – yet they are drinking ---- to each their own --- but I think they are fantastic.  These three, along with a special bottling of a ’16 Petite Sirah Reserve, which has been on new oak for 27 months, will be released in a fall shipment the first week in October.  They are extremely limited and will only be distributed to wine club members.  For those attending this years club party, they will be available at that time.   ( but be sure to bring a cooler along, as it could be ‘toasty’ that day. )

Speaking of this years annual Wine Club Blending Party, it will be held at the vineyard on Saturday, September 14​th​.  Festivities will begin at 11am, and after lunch, blending will commence.  For the past few years, about 250 ‘amateur’ winemakers have gathered to participate in putting together the blends for our SFR and Menage a Bunch wines, and we look forward to welcoming this years group. 

And for those who are thinking of attending, there is something VERY special taking place in Paso this summer….its called the FIELD OF LIGHT AT SENSORIO. 



Sensorio is comprised of an array of over 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber-optics, gently illuminating the landscape in subtle blooms of morphing color that describe the undulating landscape.   If interested, or if you want more information, here is their website:  


 This would be a great way to end the day after the party, but book early, as tickets are limited.


Earlier this spring 140 G.V. Club members joined us on our first Wine Club Cruise.  And a blast was had by all.  Eighty two of the group opted for the pre-cruise package, and we met in Bilbao, Spain  for three days of eating and drinking – and spending a day at the Guggenheim Museum before moving on to San Sebastian, the culinary capital of Spain ( and the world).  We then all motored our way to Bordeaux, France, where we met up with the rest of our group and  boarded our river cruise ship, the AMA Dolce where we spent the next week visiting the vineyards that produce some of the finest – and most expensive – wines in the world.  Great food, wine and new friendships were had by all.  Post cruise, about 70 of the group spent a few days in the Loire Valley before concluding the trip in Paris.  Many of us had the opportunity to visit Notre Dame just hours before the disastrous fire broke out.    The memories we all shared on that trip have led many of those attending ask….so when and where is the next one?   Stay tuned….

Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to seeing many of you at the Blending Party or just visiting the winery the later part of this year.


Continuing to Drink the Dream


Jan  & Len