about gelfand vineyards

                                            Winter  2018/2019



As I begin to write this newsletter, it’s 37 degrees outside – and it’s just 10 in the morning!   In stark contrast to my summer newsletter which was written in July in 110 degree heat.   This is one of things that I love best about Paso Robles. ( as do our grapes )

This years harvest was, in a word, ‘interesting’.     Decent rains last year generated early growth and a good set of new grapes.   We avoided any strong winds and freezing nights during fruit set.   The year started out looking great.   And then came summer…. We had good heat which kept everything growing.   But the heat kept going and going.   We set a new record for the number of consecutive days over 100 degrees…. twenty one days straight.   And grapes vines, like people, have a way of dealing with high temperatures.   People tend to stay indoors or jump into a swimming pool;  grapevines react by shutting down sugar production.

As harvest approached, the vines looked great….lots of good looking clusters; unfortunately, none of which were ripening with a sufficient degree of sugars.   (French winemakers would have loved it).    Many of the growers in the area decided to just let their grapes hang longer so as to give the vines a chance to catch up and increase their sugar levels.   But waiting was not the option I chose.   We took aggressive action and dropped ( cut off) more than half of our fruit in hopes of concentrating all of the vines energy into just the remaining fruit.   And it worked!    What really hurt though was looking at all the grape clusters covering the ground.   We were able to get the sugars up to our ‘normal’ levels, but the downside is that we ended up with one the smallest harvests we’ve had in years.    This just confirms what I have saying for years, that farming has to be one of the toughest professions in the world.

This years’ Autumnal Equinox was not just the first day of fall, it was also the day for our annual Wine Club Blending Party.   And it was our  biggest one ever, with over 270 club members in attendance joining us from 14 different states – as far away as New York and Florida.   It turned out to be a perfect day, with temperatures in the low 80s and not a single paramedic had to be called in.    Not only did the group come up with the great blends for our Menage and SFR wines, they also participated in the naming of one of our new wines will be released later this year, our Sangiovese blend – which in Italy, is referred to as a Super Tuscan wine.   We challenged the club to come up with the perfect name for this wine, the winner getting the first case off the bottling line.   We were pleasantly surprised at the creativity of our members – over 180 names were submitted.  They were all great, even though some could never have passed government approval.    Our final selection, submitted by Barbara, Joanne and Laura was “Tuscan Joy”.  

This wine, along with our newly bottled Malbec and Tempranillo will all be released later this year in our first ever fall wine club shipment.  All of the grapes for these three wines are coming off of the hillside which we planted 5 years ago. There has been a lot of anticipation for them, and the time is finally here.    They will be very limited, but with just enough production so that every club member will get to enjoy one.   Each year, the vines production will increase insuring that those who want to have a few extra bottles to savor for future years will be able to do so.   ( all three of these wines came out…. GREAT….. made in the same style as our other wines; those who were fortunate to try some of our Malbec from last year will know what I am referring to).   We promise not to disappoint.

In a few days ( January 7, 8 and 9) we will be bottling our ’17 wines.   Another good vintage, with our Cab and Petite Sirah leading the way.   For those who may be in the area, please come by and join us.   These are full days with lots of “quality control” measures that must be undertaken by our volunteers ( for those who have never participated in bottling before, this simply means -  Sampling the wine before it gets into the bottle to make sure its up to our strict standards….and this needs to be done continually thru the day… think you get the picture)

Because many of our members live in warm climates ( Florida,   Texas,  Arizona, etc)   by the time the May shipment rolled around,   warm became HOT, so last year we started to offer those members the option of sending both the March and May shipments out at the same time…in March.    And not surprisingly, almost every single member in those states opted for doing so.   Even members who pick up their wines also opted in.   So for any of our other members who would like to take advantage of getting both shipments at the same time in March, just drop us an email.   The upside is that you will save almost 50% on shipping costs, and best of all is that you won’t have to stay at home for two days a year (or more) waiting for the UPS driver to deliver your shipment.   The downside is that if you have any UPS stock, better get rid of it because of all the revenue they will be losing.

Please, Please, Please --- also advise us if there have been any changes to your membership in the last year…. address changes, shipping changes, credit card updates, etc.   Running all these changes down in March takes the fun out of winemaking, so we really appreciate knowing early if there are any updates.

Just a year ago, we announced our first GV River Cruise which was scheduled for April of ’19.   It seemed so far away then, and now, its just around the corner.   And the 144 of our members, who jumped on this when first announced are getting excited.   ( why only 144 – its because that’s the capacity on the ship…. Yes, we – you – sold it out in less than 30 days.)   Will there be another?   Will have to wait to hear what the survey says – so stay tuned.

Here is a list of some important dates to remember:

     January 7-9   Bottling – members are welcome to come and participate

     March 1st  -   Wine club shipment #1 ( and #2 if desired)  is available for pick up; shipping will be on Monday, March 4th.

     March 15-17 – Zin Festival – our gates will be open that weekend

     March 29 – April 14    GV River Cruise to Bordeaux

     May 1st -   Wine club shipment #2  is available for pick up; shipping will be on Monday, May 6th.

     September 14th  – Annual wine club blending party.           

     October 7th -   Fall wine club shipment is released

We want to thank all of our club members for another wonderful year.   Unfortunately, it has been one of the FASTEST years ever….it was just beginning – and now it’s over.    But before signing off for the year, I want to apologize to those who like to look at the photos which go along with our newsletter.    I had a number of them on my i-phone.   Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, someone decided that they wanted my phone more that I did, smashing in my truck window and helping themselves to it.   Maybe he (she) is enjoying the photos.

     A Happy and Healthy New Year to all, and continue to

                             “Drink the Dream”

                                     Jan & Len