What an exciting year thus far here at Heller Estate Organic Vineyards! We did not float away with all the rainstorms that California endured and are very happy to say that all the wells as well as the reservoir are now completely recharged. The vineyards are looking beautiful with all the new grape clusters just starting to take shape. The milder temperatures this spring has put us on track for a later harvest season, which is more in line with the pre-drought years as far as timing goes for harvest seasons. This gives the grapes a more relaxed growing season with a longer time to reach full maturity with wonderfully intense aromas, flavors and structure. Read more…
News From The Vineyard
Bud break is occurring all over the vineyard! Now that the vines are slowly waking up after their restful slumber over the winter months we are seeing tiny little leaves peaking out at us from the previously dormant canes. This means spring is officially here and the 2017 growing season has begun. The copious amounts of rainfall this winter were such a wonderful blessing for grape vines and fruit trees here at Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. It has significantly recharged the water tables on the property as well as giving all the plants plenty of water to quench their thirst. Meanwhile, our new pond has been completely filled. Lots of happy turtles are now swimming and sunning themselves at the pond. Read more…
What a lovely time of year to receive a package of delicious Heller Estate Organic Vineyards organically grown wines – a package that comes just after all the festivities of the holiday season have quieted down. This gives one a great excuse for another fun celebration. It is always nice, no matter what time of year, to invite over good friends and family to enjoy some yummy food and delicious wine.
With the New Year here, the vineyard is getting some much deserved rest. The weather has been rather chilly up on the vineyard here in Cachagua. When arriving to work in the mornings, we are met with frost blanketing the beautiful landscape. We have also been getting a nice amount of rainfall this winter which in turn is recharging the water table. This is great because the water becomes much more accessible to the deep root systems of our dry farmed vines. This winter’s cold weather is also beneficial for the grapevines; it allows them to go dormant, hibernate, and recharge from the last year’s growing season. Read more…
First light, September 7, 2016, the picking crew arrives at the vineyard to harvest the first fruit of the season. A beautiful block of Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir that are ripe and ready to be fermented into another great vintage of Heller Estate Organic Vineyard wine. The berries, still cold from the night air, are handled with care as they are plucked from the vines and transported to the winery. When the grapes arrive, the whole clusters of Chardonnay are loaded directly into the press where they are squeezed lightly to produce a lovely golden colored juice, sweet and aromatic. The Chardonnay juice will spend a couple days in tank settling before starting the fermentation process. Once there is no sugar left in the Chardonnay the very young wine will be racked to barrels, where it will age for at least one year. Read more…
Summer is upon us and it is heating up nicely here in Cachagua Valley. The vines and fruit trees are soaking up all the warm sunshine, which they are loving. At this stage in time the fruit has set and the clusters are all formed. The grapes on the clusters are still relatively small and hard, but over the next couple of months they will start plumping up. Great wines start first and foremost in the vineyard. Being organically farmed puts us ahead of the game. Our crew takes great pride in working hard to make sure that all the vineyard blocks are getting the attention that is needed to produce the amazing grapes that go into our award winning wines.
During these 90°+ days it is nice to escape the heat by popping into the winery and laboratory to do some work. Keeping our white wine tanks chilling for stabilization creates a nice air conditioning effect. This is not only good for the wines, but also the winemakers. Tracking the wine in tanks and barrels is a monthly task. Performing analysis on all wines helps us to maintain the vitality of it depending on the data we collect. At this point we may or may not make any adjustment to the wine in barrel or tank. After all the barrels will be topped. Barrels breath at a low level so wine will evaporate thus needing to be replenished to keep full.
Spring is here! A lot has been going on up here at the winery and vineyard. In 2015 an initiative was taken to construct a pond due to the drought that had continued throughout California over the past four years. In early November, the construction was finally completed. This was perfect timing for the start of California’s rainy season. The pond spans the length of a football field, holding five million gallons of water. Our natural spring feeds right into the new pond and with solid rainfall over the winter the pond is now ready to be put into operation. This will allow us the ability to frost-protect our vineyards as well as in really hot summer conditions, give us a way to dose out little amounts of water to the vines thus protecting the canopy and the fruit. The pond is also a great addition because it is a natural ecosystem full of turtles, frogs, ducks and geese.
Heading into 2016, we are excited for the oncoming season as well as the prospects of spectacular wines crafted from both 2014 and the 2015 season.
Late fall rains and the predictions of a strong El Nino – perhaps the strongest since 1997 – have us very hopeful for heavy winter rains. After four years of continued drought conditions, our vineyards and water table look forward greatly to drenching downpours.
While the rains fall (or hopefully) we are busy taking care of our 2014 and 2015 reds as well as our young white wines in our cellar and barrel rooms. Red wines will be topped roughly every 30 days, as wine tends to evaporate in the barrel over time. Topping each barrel is meticulous work but a necessity to keep the wine sound in the barrel.
Happy 2015 from the winery and vineyards!
We have great hopes for the vintage and truly wish all of our wine club members and their families a safe and prosperous year.
We will begin setting the stage for our vintage in a few weeks when we start to prune our organic vines deep within the Cachagua Valley. Pruning the vines while they are dormant allows us to control how much fruit each vine will produce and is the first step in a long growing season. Read more…
Welcome to our 2015 4th Quarter Wine Club!!!
As we are winding our way through another highly successful vintage, we’d like to give everyone an update on our organic vineyards and winery.
We have already picked our mountain grown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Merlot and one block of gorgeous, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon as of today – 25 September 2015. Easily our earliest harvest in 20 years, we are amazed at the quality of what has been rolling off our incredible vineyard.
With over 100 acres planted to 9 varieties, Heller Estate is the largest grape grower in the Cachagua Valley. Thanks to the Heller family, we have been cultivating these organic grapes since 1993 with the intent to minimally impact our natural surroundings, ecosystem and community.
I am lucky enough to experience this tranquility each and every day as I move through the vineyard and the surrounding Heller Estate ranch on the edge of the vast Ventana Wilderness. Read more…