Home Industry News Releases Sarah’s Vineyard Reports Near Normal Yields, Very High Quality in Silicon Valley

Sarah’s Vineyard Reports Near Normal Yields, Very High Quality in Silicon Valley


Sarahs VineyardGilroy, CA:  It started on September 1 with a bit of estate Pinot Noir for their Rosé program. And just finished with hand harvesting of Picpoul Blanc. In between were nine weeks solid of pre-dawn picks and midnight crush sessions.  The 2016 grape harvest at Sarah’s Vineyard has been one for the books. Winemaker / proprietor Tim Slater is exhausted but happy: “Wow. Time for a vacation. A crazy couple months but grape quality overall looks superb. I’m very excited about the eventual 2016 wines, especially those from our own vines here.”

The Santa Clara Valley (now perhaps better known as Silicon Valley) has a long winegrowing history, dating to the 1850s. Tim Slater is one of several “young gun” vintners here working to reinvent the Valley’s viticultural legacy. For his limited “Appellation Series” wines, Tim sources grapes from well-known growers in the nearby Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Cruz Mountains districts. But he is particularly enthused this year about the fruit off his own S.V. home estate. His property’s Sarah’s, Timcat, and Dwarf Oak blocks are planted to 10 different vinifera grapes. And while the Sarah’s Vineyard label’s best known bottlings are its highly – regarded Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Mr. Slater is on a mission to also promote the Rhone grape varietals in his corner of Silicon Valley. He currently has Grenache, Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Counoise, and Mourvédre planted.

“Our location in the “Mt. Madonna Gap” gives us the perfect balance of warm sunny days and cooling winds and fog from the ocean,” explains Tim. “This year’s growing season saw the return of winter and spring rains after years of drought, giving the vines a shot in the arm, vigor-wise. As soon as veraison was finishing up, we spent a lot of time hedging the vine rows, to open up the canopy and allow the fruit the air circulation and exposure necessary for final ripening.”

“It is potentially our best harvest ever,” Tim continues. “The estate’s total yield was up versus last year – not surprising given the better rainfall numbers we had during the winter. And I’m really loving the across the board quality we saw on the crush pad. Normally you’ll have one or two varietals that are a bit backward – this year everything is near perfect. With such great fruit, my job as winemaker is to just get out of the way and let the vineyard sing through.”


2016 S.V. Pinot Noir Clone 943

New this year at Sarah’s…

“We had our first harvest out of our newest Cabernet Sauvignon block on the home estate. And our first ever Santa Lucia Highlands’ Chardonnay – from Kirk William’s Highlands Ranch Vineyard. And we received some Charbono grapes from the Paso Robles area.”

“For the first time, we processed some our fruit at the new Stomping Ground facility in Gilroy. The larger, more modern equipment there allowed us to gently destem twelve tons of Pinot Noir in just two hours – as opposed to the six hours it would have taken at Sarah’s.”

About Sarah’s Vineyard…

The Sarah’s Vineyard estate and label is a labor of love for winegrower Tim Slater.  The property occupies 18 acres in the cool climate “Mt. Madonna” district of the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. Tim in his former life has been a DJ, a musician, and a successful “micro-machining” engineer with many patents to his name. At S.V., he channels both his inner “mad scientist” and his artistic side to grow and produce world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tim also cultivates his interest in the Rhone varietals, with plantings of seven different traditional grape types. The popular Sarah’s Vineyard Tasting Room is open daily on Hecker Pass Road, outside of Gilroy.  S.V.’s online home is SarahsVineyard.com

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