Here we are. Again. In what must be some sick and depraved form of déjà vu, we are right back where we were almost 3 years ago: hellish infernos have descended upon the idyllic landscapes of Sonoma and Napa county. In a year where seemingly everything has gone wrong, on a localized level these fires are a fitting cherry on top of a nightmare sundae that nobody wants to eat. However, this post is not intended to be a pity party by any means. The year-that-shan't-be-named has been equally cruel to a plethora of industries and small businesses, so to focus the spotlight of plight specifically on the Sonoma/Napa wine industry wouldn't be fair.
Also, yes, there is absolutely a bigger, ongoing discussion that we all need to have that addresses why these seemingly annual mega-fires are wiping out communities, leveling businesses and ending human lives. Climate change. Land management. Human sprawl. All of these theories are valid topics for future prevention, but none of them help those affected in the here and now dealing with the flames that are, once again, at our doorstep.
Harvest is here again...and so are the wine country fires.
If you ever had interest in receiving our super limited, boutique wines on a continuous basis, your timing couldn't be better to do so. It's a little more than a week away from the release of our October 2020 wine allocation and we're feeling pretty excited about the scheduled selections we're about to ship out. Featuring two of our white wines, our Carneros Chardonnay and Dry Muscat, along with a great red wine in our Pommard Clone Pinot Noir; we believe these three wines are a perfect way to celebrate the waning days of summer and simultaneously usher in the crisp, cool days of autumn.
Now, for those of you that haven't already enrolled, you might be asking, "what exactly is a wine allocation"? In the truest form of a wine allocation model, wineries will only make their wines available to purchase once or twice per year until the wine sells out or the allocation period is over. We actually do things a little bit differently at Ricci Vineyards where we make our wines available year-round to purchase in our online store à la carte. However, being our production is so limited with each of our offerings, we never know when we might run out of a particular vintage or varietal. Taking that into account, we always make sure to keep inventory on-hand to fulfill the demand in our allocation program. Simply put, our allocation program is the easiest and most assured way that you'll always have access to our wine.
If you're a huge fan of Ricci Vineyards and want to be supportive our wine endeavor on a reoccurring schedule, then we would be absolutely smitten to have you as part of our extended wine family. The October 2020 Allocation will be processed on 10/1/2020 and if you're ready to join, you can check out all of our different allocation options here. Questions? Feel free to email us or read our FAQs. Thank you and we look forward to sending an allocation of wine to you in the very near future. Cheers!
A great bottle of wine, more often than not, is always well-received as a gift. Wine is versatile in that it can be gifted to acknowledge somebody's recent engagement, work promotion, anniversary, birthday, or really anything worth celebrating. The only potential issue when gifting wine is that not all taste preferences are the same.
While you might be a Pinot-phile personally, the bottle red Burgundy that you just gifted to a couple as a house-warming present might not be their wine of choice. Everybody's palette is different, so if you don't know what wine somebody truly loves, why take the risk?
Whether you feel inspired to give a gift of wine to someone during our collective shelter-in-place, or you just want to surprise someone with a nice gesture, we have a solution that has you covered in both instances: eGift cards! Our eGift cards are ideal for multiple reasons, but we figured it would be good to highlight a few key features:
• The cards can never be lost or stolen. • There is no environmental footprint. • No expiration date and the cards never lose value. • Each card can be reloaded and reused.
If you are looking to surprise somebody with a gift that will truly be appreciated, we think that eGift cards are a can't-miss option. You even have the financial flexibility to gift a card to somebody for as much, or as little, as you see fit. Cards values start at $10 and have a maximum value of $500. When you're ready to start crossing people off your gifting list, you can do so here. Thank you for your support and sharing the gift of Ricci Vineyards!
Wow. Who knew so much could transpire in the span of a few short months? From December until now, we have been witness to a multitude of momentous events, both on a personal scale and far-reaching. Starting with the soft unveiling of our Ricci wine in December, there also has been a global pandemic, a shutdown of the world's economy and, neatly tucked somewhere within all of that, a small gathering in Sonoma CA to celebrate the official release of the Ricci Vineyards wine.
During a rain soaked afternoon in mid-March, on the rustic back patio of a historic restaurant (Reel & Brand), we reveled in good company, shared laughter, and proudly poured copious amounts of our rosé, Three Lions Pinot Noir, and St. Laurent. Even though this was two months ago, it feels like it has been two years. Looking back, it seems somewhat odd to realize that our release party was literally the last time anybody in attendance would have social interaction on that level. The very next day after the party, a mandate was put in place restricting the gathering of groups larger than 10 people. Knowing how events have ultimately unfolded in the subsequent time since our party, we feel genuinely fortunate that we were able to host a wine release at all.
We reminisce with gratitude all the friends and family members that braved the elements and threat of COVID to support our wine endeavor. The clinking of wine glasses and the hearty buzz of conversations reverberate in our mind. Those sounds, the hugs, the handshakes, the high-fives...all of them are certainly missed, but we have faith that they will be back in time. It is only inevitable that we will return to a level of normalcy, that a virus can restrain the tenacious spirit of our societal yearnings for so long. Although the timeline for this return is still undetermined, whenever it does happen, we promise to have a glass of wine waiting for anyone willing to drink with us. Until then, stay safe and cheers to you (from a distance).
Although it has been quite some time since we last gave an update on our blog, the moment we have been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived ... our WINE IS READY TO SELL!!!
It has probably been 18 months since we first decided to embark on this crazy adventure of launching our own wine brand, and there were definitely times when the process seemed like it would never reach a conclusion. Now here we are and the fruits, or perhaps more appropriately, wines of our labor are (literally) tasting incredible. Getting to this point was not always smooth or straightforward and we had a lot of help from some great colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances along the way. If we listed out everybody that deserved our gratitude individually, this blog post would probably be way too long and boring, so instead we'll just have faith that those people know who they are.
Lastly, even though it might feel like we've reached a finish line, in truth our journey is just getting started. We set out with intentions to keep pushing forward, to grow and build awareness of the Ricci Vineyards wine brand and to continue without any notion of an end to all of this; just a beginning and the unknown. We're here at the initial jump-off point and if you're reading this, we're beyond flattered that you're invested in this too. Ultimately it will be your support and dedication that will keep our whole venture running and we hope that you will proudly brandish the Ricci Vineyards flag, both now, and long into the future.
Cheers, a sincere thank you to all, and let's start drinking this great juice!
Even as we patiently wait for the grapes to ripen and harvest to commence, there are plenty of things to be done around the vineyard. One of the biggest undertakings is ensuring that the vineyard is continuously producing fruit for future harvests. A variety of factors can affect the physical yield of grapes, but one of the underlying components to a thriving vineyard is the replanting and inter-planting of the vines themselves.
Like all things, grape vines have a finite lifespan. Although there is plenty of documentation of certain vines that can live to be over 100 years old, the majority of commercial vineyards replace their vines on a much more frequent basis. As grape vines age, their ability to produce fruit will begin to decline at a certain point. Most healthy vines reach the end of their viable, effective lifespan around 25 to 30 years and once a vine gets to this age the clusters of fruit become less dense and much more sparse. Some growers will actually rely on their older vines by creating a niche in the marketplace and utilize the uniqueness of these older vines as a way to separate themselves with other producers; but for larger scale operations it is essential that the vines are maintaining an optimal output.
Above: Young vines that are ready for inter-planting.
For anybody in the wine industry that has ever released or made a wine of their own, it is pretty safe to say that the moment your wine is ready to be bottled is a tremendously satisfying feeling. Furthermore, when the wine that is being bottled is your first vintage, as is the case with us and Ricci Vineyards, that feeling is heightened even more so.
The bottling of your wine in a certain sense represents a finish line for all the hard work that was previously put forth to get to this point. From the physical harvesting of the grapes, the selection of packaging and design of the labels, and the enduring patience required to wait for the wine to age...the culmination of all these elements occurs when the first case of wine comes rolling off the bottling line. For us, having our 2018 vintages in bottle is the continuation of a new chapter being written in our family's legacy of grape growing (and now) making wine. From humble vineyard beginnings in 1982, it could be said that the wines we will be releasing this year are almost 40 years in the making.
We are definitely anxious, as well as excited, to see how our initial offerings of Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, and a rosé of Pinot Noir will express themselves after we unveil them in the coming months. With the wine finished and resting in bottles, it can be said that the easy part of making wine is now over and the hard part begins: finding a thirsty and accepting audience that is willing to consume the wine we devoted so much time to make. With any luck, those of you that are reading this will help us out with that last part.
Cheers and if you want to see more pictures from the bottling line process, please click here!
Above: Our rosé just coming off the bottling line.
Every year, or at least since 2016, we at Ricci Vineyards like to celebrate all things patriotic and Americana with a pre-4th of July party and potluck. We like to think that it's a great way to kick-off the birthday festivities for our great nation: the good ole' USA. In what has become common themes of this get-together, there were plenty of good friends and family in attendance, tons of fantastic comfort food, and last but not least; a gaggle of crazy canines running amok. In all honesty, it's not a decent party without proper four-legged representation (at least in our opinion).
There was plenty of pond swimmin', horseshoe tossin', flip cuppin', bean baggin', bbq-in' and beer/wine drinkin'... put it all together, it made for a pretty great day. We had an absolutely amazing time and we want to thank all of the individuals that made an effort to spend the day with us. Hopefully everybody else had just as good of a time and we can't wait to do it all again next year!
Please click here or on the image to see the full album.
(Special thanks to Lorna Underhill for her photo documentation. The pictures captured the day perfectly!)
Now that bud break has long passed us by and the vines have built up their leafy, vigorous canopies, one of the biggest changes you will see in the vineyard, and on the vines themselves, is the emergence of tiny clusters that almost resemble baby grapes. In actuality, these are not grapes at all, but rather groups of flowers called inflorescence. Unlike other flowering plants that require outside agents like birds or bees to pollinate, most cultivated grape varieties are hermaphroditic and possess both the female ovaries and male stamens required to self-pollinate. However, even with this reproductive advantage, only about 50% of the blooming inflorescence will develop fruit, as these tiny flowers are very delicate and susceptible to forces like rain, wind, and frost.
Once the inflorescence start to bloom, fruit set will begin as soon as the individual flowers become fertilized. A tiny seed will start to develop and a berry will envelop the seed to protect it. This berry, as you probably can guess, is the grape. It would seem almost obvious that as farmers we would want as much fruit set within the inflorescence as possible, but this is not exactly the case. If too much of the inflorescence starts developing fruit, the resulting cluster can become too packed and condensed with grapes and can lead to a variety of fungal infections. Conversely, if an inflorescence has poor fruit set, you will notice a distinct difference in the size of the berries. Larger, fully developed grapes are called "hens", the smaller, undersized berries are called "chicks", and berries that are green, hard and unripe are called "shot".
Human awareness has come a long way in regard to the impact we have on our planet. It wasn't too long ago that the term "organic" was typically associated with hippy communes and radical thinkers. Those days are no longer, and that is a good thing. When it comes to the things we consume, it is rare to find produce or a product in the marketplace where there isn't a organic variant, and that includes wine.
At Ricci Vineyards we have been mindful of the footprint we leave on the land ever since the inception of our farming endeavors. We realize, as with any ecosystem, there is a fragile balance that exists and we do not want to be the hand that tips the scale in any one direction. Although being organic is one of our ultimate goals, we aren't there quite yet. In the meantime, we have made it a priority to always strive for the most ethical and sustainable farming practices whenever possible. In fact, we were one of the first vineyard adopters of utilizing reclaimed, filtered "grey water" for our irrigation needs in Sonoma County. Also, while we do incorporate the use of chemicals and commercial fertilizer, it is only when we feel it is absolutely necessary.
We are big believers in letting the biodiversity of the vineyard shape the land and it is quite remarkable the variety of life that exists just in the confines of our property. Coyotes, jack rabbits, hawks, owls, vultures, egrets, herons, turtles, turkeys, even otters...these are only a few species of many that carve out a niche in the habitat we have created. Our intention is to protect and sustain the lives that depend on our land however we can.
Until we can declare ourselves truly organic, rest assured that we will continue to employ the best farming practices that are deemed a non-threat to the environment. After all, we rely on the land, so it only seems fair that the land should rely on us.