Hello world! Starting a blog is exciting. It’s giving birth to a voice. A brand new voice, an as yet unheard and non-existent voice. It’s the opportunity to start fresh, to bring a new perspective into this world to be shared and discovered by others, and to exist indefinitely as a record of this ephemeral time we live. And what stories does time hold in store for us at Ram’s Gate? To what discoveries and surprises and narratives and events and thoughts and observations and mysteries and beauties and curiosities will this voice bear witness and attempt to describe? Only time will tell! Such is the beautiful and weird mystery of life.
I’m Britt and I will be your mole and narrator through this harvest and beyond from inside the Ram’s Gate (whose name represents our (prime) location at the gateway to ‘Carneros’, which means ‘ram’ in Spanish, and which is the southern-most AVA in Sonoma County). Somewhere between a Ram’s Gate wikileaks, delivering the juiciest insider info, and an anthology of playful prose, whimsical, wine-nerdy wanderings, and whatever existential miscellany pervades, may this blog serve to enlighten about the world of winegrowing in addition to making you smile, ponder and above all, pause. We’re about quality over here. Take time for yourself. Take time to delve and absorb.
In the wise words of Fraulein Maria, let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. Not that there really is a beginning. To anything. (Really, though, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Similarly, contemplating the ‘beginning’ of our universe is confusing.) In Wine Country, the period of veraison, during which the grapes are rapidly reaching a state of harvest-able ripeness, is one of a few logical points to jump in.
Veraison on the Ram’s Gate Estate
Assistant Winemaker Jesse Fox checking on how the vines are progressing
Veraison! It’s happening and it’s been happening for about a month. As veraison picks up steam, so does the energy in the Valley. Big flatbeds carrying equipment for the harvest rumble by on our one-lane country highway, and on crush pads everywhere, cellar crews are cleaning out the tanks and bins and various metal parts that have lain dormant with the vines since the last harvest. They’re actually picking already in our neighboring Napa Valley, which, like your glamorous, older cousin, seems always to be maturing just a little bit faster.
But we’re laid back in Sonoma. We’re rustic and more country with our rolling hills, cow-sprinkled farmland and lazy, sprawling marshes, and we take our time. That distinctive Sonoma breeze blows around us, slowing the vines’ maturation, and soothing our soul, and we’ll wait. Because it’s that longer hang-time on the vines, which makes our wines so complex, interesting and restrained.
At Ram’s Gate, last week we bottled on site (for the first time ever!) to make space in the tanks for the newborn fruit to come. This week, like everyone else, we’re cleaning our equipment in preparation. Our first pick of Pinot Noir for what will be our first estate sparkling brut is slated for next week. Stay tuned!