When to Harvest?

Happy 1st Day of Fall Everyone!

It has truly been an interesting year for the 2017 harvest season in Paso Robles. We started out, well, hot and heavy because it was in the triple digit heat for about two weeks in August. We harvested our Sauvignon Blanc, which was not too early, but the Syrah and Zinfandel were not far behind it.  It looked like we would be done with all our harvests in late August and early September, but the heat spell broke with the scent of rain and blustery winds…monsoon weather. We didn’t get the rain and crazy microburst that Santa Barbara did, but the temperatures finally fell below the 100’s, which all plants and creatures, including us humans appreciated.

September showed up with the 70’s and 80’s, which meant a slow down in the fruit ripening. As you can see, grapes (most agriculture for that matter) are affected by temperature. More heat means faster ripening. Less heat means slower ripening. At this time, we are waiting on harvests, but how do we determine when to harvest? Here’s a breakdown…

Brix – We test the brix (sugars) of the grapes with a tool called a refractometer. Generally, the winemaker will have a number he/she wants as a target for each variety of grape. This is decided upon what the variety will become as a wine. All wine grapes have to come into the winery with sugars for the yeast to eat, otherwise no fermentation can happen. On the other side, when fruit has more sugar it means less acidity, so there’s a balancing act. We still need acidity in wine to help formulate the structure. Once we reach the desired brix, it brings us that much closer to harvesting. That said, it isn’t the only factor we consider in pulling off fruit.

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A club member uses a refractometer to see the brix of the Cabernet at our Harvest Party 2011.

Feel – We use the feel of the grapes to determine if they are ripe. This is a lot like at home when you have a basket of strawberries in your fridge, you will not only use the appearance, but the feel to determine if a berry is ripe to eat (or too ripe). So, this is true with grapes, we take note if the skins are soft and velvety as a sign of ripeness.

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Ethan analyzes the berries of the Cabernet Franc. – 2017

Seeds – We also look at the seeds as they help show how ripe the grapes are. The seeds should be brown in color and crunchy. The pulp of the grape should easily separate from the the seed when it is ripe. There are some seasons, like this current one, where we may have to harvest without the seeds being 100% brown because the flavor, brix, and feel say otherwise.

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David is reviewing the seeds of the Cab. – 2017

Taste – Taste is a huge factor for determining when to harvest. There have been times when the brix were at the desired number, but the flavor wasn’t. Flavor may be one of the most important factors because how the fruit tastes as a grape will impact the way it tastes as a wine. If we pick fruit that is too green, it will show up in the wine’s palate. If we pick fruit that is too ripe, it will mean very high sugars, no acidity, and heaviness (syrup-y) for the body of the wine. Of course for a port, you would want high sugars, so it does depend on a winemaker’s intent. For drier wines, we do not want green or over ripen fruit, but instead balance.

The Elements – If it’s going to rain, sometimes it means that we have to harvest to avoid mildew and rot. This does depend on the variety, weather temperature, and wind. There have been years where some rain didn’t make a difference, but others sadly did.

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2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

As you can see, it isn’t one factor that determines when to harvest, but many. That is why intuition, knowledge, and goals will ultimately determine when each variety should be harvested because some years it won’t be clear. Lastly, being in Paso Robles, the special thing is we talk with other wineries about harvesting. We learn from each other, which fosters a unique community of respect and care.  So, with that, happy harvest to all our fellow wineries and vineyards out there! See you in December.

-Cecily

Harvest

With the welcoming of Autumn, we are definitely in the midst of harvest. So far in the last month we have brought in from our Adelaida Vineyard: Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Zinfandel, various clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. It has kept us the busiest we have ever been, but it is worth it to have our own fruit in the tanks.

The toughest thing this season has been deciding when to harvest. Normally, we are waiting on the brix (sugars), but this year we are waiting on the flavor and the seeds to go from green to brown. We have certain brix numbers we want to reach with each variety, but going too far over will mean not only higher sugar, but alcohol as well.

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David & Cody talking about when to harvest this block of Cabernet Sauvignon

The weather has also been playing games ranging from hot-hot to mild days. The warmer the weather the faster things go, but with the mild days and cold mornings it slows things down. As farmers though, this is how it goes. The weather is always unpredictable; even with our technology, we cannot harness its wild side.

With the long days, one thing is for sure that we are at least spending a lot of time together.

Happy Harvest!

Cecily

 

 

Seeing Purple – Harvest 2016

On Monday we rang in the harvest season with our only green, golden grape-child, Sauvignon Blanc. It was beautiful and looks like it’s going to be a fantastic vintage! The rest of the season will be filled with blue, purple, and red grapes. Soon it will become a blur of purple as we will be harvesting a total of 11 estate varieties, forecasted to be 60 tons! This will be our busiest season ever, but our proudest.

Since 1995 we have been harvesting our own Cabernet Sauvignon, but this year will be the first year we harvest all estate fruit! Estate just means that it is from our vineyard. So, anytime you see “Estate” on a wine label, it means that the grapes came from that winery’s vineyard. Furthermore, it means that the winery has watched these grapes from slumber, bud, flower, veraison, ripe to juice. It’s a lot more work, but a dream for any winery. This is why this harvest will mean that much more to us.

So, what is on the line up…well, Sauvignon Blanc is one, but the other ten are: Cabernet Sauvginon (obviously, with it being us), Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Malbec, and Zinfandel. These grapes are coming from three terroir-diverse vineyards in Creston, El Pomar, and Adelaida, which are sub-AVAs of the Paso Robles District. Here’s a quote of my dad, David, from a recent article:

“Every year, the fruit is going to be different thanks to weather,” says Parrish. “But what we can count on are these three sites producing certain characteristics consistently. Creston, with its granitic soil and high calcium content produces grapes with beautiful color and flavor. El Pomar produces enormously round fruit and earthy flavors along with great mouthfeel. And in our Adelaida vineyard, with the mix of clay and calcareous, we get pronounced acidity, both full high tannins, great structure, and spice.”

This is why I find wine so fascinating is that every wine is going to be unique due to not only the variety, weather, winemaker style, but also the location (terroir) that the grapes were grown. As my dad says regularly, wine starts in the vineyard…how a vineyard is kept and its location will determine the grapes’ quality. So, here’s a cheers to the 2016 vintage as we feel it will be a great one!

Visit us next week (Labor Day Weekend, hurray!) at the tasting room as we’ll have out some of our Award Winning Wines!

Happy Harvest-

Cecily

PFV Team: Caysi

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We are lucky to have Caysi on our team as she is hard working, knowledgeable, a Paso local, and a wonderful hostess to our guests and members. Visit the tasting room and you’ll see why she’s beloved by many, in the mean time, get to know Caysi….

What is your favorite wine & TV pairing?

Oh wow. That’s an intriguing question! Unfortunately, in our house, we watch a lot of TV in the evenings! Having said that, how about if I narrow it down to two?

Comedy: The Big Bang Theory paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. There’s nothing like a bit of humor and some hilariously complicated and socially awkward characters paired with a light glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day!

Drama: NCIS (the original) paired with Petite Sirah. It’s a little darker, more complex, but still easy to drink. It starts out big and bold, but mellows with time. By the end of an hour-long action and drama packed episode, it’s so smooth and comforting.

When you’re not at work, what can we find you up to?

I bake. A lot. While most people find it strange, seeing as I don’t regularly eat sweets, I absolutely LOVE to bake. In my house I bake all of our breads, pastries, cereals, tortillas, cookies, cupcakes, etc. You name it and I’ll try to bake it… at least once. I find it to be both beneficial and therapeutic. What can I say? I’m a people-pleaser! I love doling out sweets in the same way my Grammy used to invite people into her home!

>PFV: And boy, are we spoiled with her treats!<

Also, one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions was to become more active, spend more time with my husband, and get more women friends in my life! So, every Tuesday morning (with my friend Heather), Wednesday afternoon (for my Women’s Wednesdays), and most early mornings on Saturdays (for a couples day) I head out to Heillmann Park in Atascadero to play some Disc Golf. It’s a low impact sport that my husband, Ryan, has been playing since he was thirteen. While I’m not any good at it (and I’m okay with that) it gets me out into the fresh air, offers a good hike, amazing company, and great laughs. Let me stress this again… I’m not good, so it’s great entertainment!

Your first wine memory…what was the wine, who did you enjoy it with, and any other fun facts:

My family didn’t drink a lot of wine when I was growing up and when they did, they had no idea what to look for! So, how about my first good wine memory? In the spirit of absolute honesty, it was a date. The meal prepared was the most simple but perfectly seasoned and grilled fresh diver scallops, grilled asparagus with hollandaise, fresh spring greens with a citrus vinaigrette and a bottle of Tablas Creek’s Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc. Believe it or not, with the exception of the wine, it was all scratch made. I know, I live a blessed life… I did marry a cook after all!

You grew up in Paso Robles, what is your favorite part about Paso & why? 

So many reasons, so little time! The simplest reason? History. My mother’s family settled in the Lockwood Valley and Bryson-Hisperia area in the mid-1880’s. It’s hard to not be proud of something like that. I have vivid memories of my grandparents driving into town with us to do their grocery shopping. Inevitably, they would stop at what is now Steve’s Gas because it was (and still is) a Full Service Station, visit Old Town Drug for any prescriptions and maybe an old fashioned soda, and then stop at Foster’s Freeze or A&W for a quick bite to eat on their way home. And let’s not forget Wilson’s Cafe! They did love Wilson’s for Breakfast! As much as this town has grown and expanded, when you visit downtown it still feels small. I like that Paso Robles hasn’t lost that. At the end of the day, we’re all descended from a bunch of farmers and ranchers.

What’s your favorite dish right now?

Finally! An easy question! Without a doubt it is my husband’s Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf with a twice baked potato on the side. It’s phenomenal! Vegetables and salad are optional. Just give me the meatloaf and potatoes. Classic. Divine. Comfort Food.

What musician could you listen to all the time & why?

This answer will vary anytime you ask me. Right now? John Denver. He’s classic and he always kept it simple. That’s what I like. Simple. I don’t listen to a lot of today’s music. Really, all anyone needs to succeed is one instrument and good lyrics… which makes me want to listen to some Simon and Garfunkel.

If you could be any wine, what wine would you be?  

Hmmm. I’d have to say Cabernet Sauvignon. While it may be King, I am the Queen (at least in my own head)! But really, I do love Cabernet. It’s my go-to wine for any time. It pairs well with a variety of food, can be sipped on it’s own after a long day, and lends itself beautifully to Ryan’s red wine gravy!

Wines Receive High Marks

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We are excited to announce that we have recently received high marks from competitions in California as well as from Wine Enthusiast Magazine! 
2012 Reserve Silken

93 pts. – Wine Enthusiast
Gold Medal – San Francisco International Wine Competition
Silver Medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition

2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
92 pts. – Wine Enthusiast
Silver Medal – San Francisco International Wine Competition
Silver Medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition

2013 Petite Sirah


Silver Medal – San Francisco International Wine Competition
Silver Medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition

2013 Reserve Silken
92 pts. – Wine Enthusiast
Silver Medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition

2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
91 pts. – Wine Enthusiast
Silver Medal – Orange County Fair Wine Competition
While the 2013 Petite Sirah and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon are available to everyone, the 2012 Silken and 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon are currently club only wines, but join us Labor Day weekend for a celebration of these beautiful wines that weekend only! 

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Award Winning Celebration 
September 2nd-4th (Friday-Sunday)
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Enjoy a special flight of our award winning wines, including the club only wines for the weekend only, paired with the decadent cheese from Fromagerie Sophie.
2013 Petite Sirah, 2010 Reserve Silken, 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Reserve Silken, and 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
$25.00

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Enjoy a 10% discount on the 2013 Petite Sirah and 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
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By the glass specials on the 2013 Petite Sirah and 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
$8.00 + tax
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Acoustic Guitar on Saturday, Sept 3rd with Jeff Peters
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Parrish Picnic – Memories

On May 21st, we hosted our Parrish Picnic at the Creston Ranch & Vineyard, and it was a blast! This year we invited wine club members and guests to join us at our lakeside spot for wine releases, fishing tournament, vineyard walk, luncheon, and just all around relaxing time. We couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise, as the only downside was the wind. Not only was the weather great, but the people were as well. From our wine club members, guests, caterers, to our staff…it wouldn’t have been such a success without the people. That is what makes this body of water so special is that it brings people together.

There was something meaningful to us, the family, to see the lakeside speckled with people relaxing and fishing. It brought back memories of family reunions, holidays, and just summer days spent fishing & swimming as a family.

Memories from the past.

This lake is really the livelihood of our ranch as it assists our vines, creates a home for fish, and is a source of water for the wildlife on our ranch. These things alone make it worth something, but add memories and it becomes irreplaceable. We are so blessed.

Check out the photos of the event below. We released our 2013 Petite Sirah, which will be showing up in the tasting room very soon.  The hit of the picnic was our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is currently available for wine club only.

Thank you to our staff (Lynlee, Caysi, Cyndi, and Erika), Two Cooks Catering, Vivant Fine Cheese, Negranti Ice Cream, and All About Events.

Cheers!
Cecily

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Parrish Picnic

We are looking forward to our Parrish Picnic on Saturday, May 21st!  We’ll be retreating to our Creston ranch and vineyard for this laid back event featuring new releases, a kebab luncheon (Two Cooks), locally made ice cream, a fishing tournament, fly fishing demonstrations with our winemaker David Parrish (my dad), vineyard walk, and lawn games.

It has been a couple years since we hosted an event at this location, so we thought it was time to float on back. If you’re looking for a retreat that day/weekend, feel free to join us! Here’s a recent video of the vineyard: https://vimeo.com/163939680

It is $50.00 per person and tickets can be purchased here.
Club Members are free +1 guest and can RSVP at club@parrishfamilyvineyard.com

Cheers!

Cecily

*The 1220 Park Street, Downtown Paso Robles location will be closed on May 21st.*

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