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There's Something Screwy Going on Here

rosejuneblog muscatojuneblog

Some of you may have noticed the debut of our new screw cap closures on our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and 2012 Chardonnay. Many of the innovations we continue to adopt at the winery to ensure the outstanding quality of our wines are never personally seen by our fans - but in this case, our commitment to making sure that every bottle is as good as the last can be seen, heard and felt with each opening twist of this new closure. The decision to move to screw cap was made as proactive measure in our ongoing quest against unwanted oxygen ingress (wine’s greatest enemy!) and cork taint. Nothing’s worse than opening your favorite bottle of wine for family and friends, only to discover with the first swirl and sniff that something’s not quite right. I never want anyone to have that experience with our wines. I have had the opportunity to try many red and white wines under screw cap. I have found that the screw cap closure is an excellent method for protecting our wines, even for longer periods of aging, than a regular cork closure. Some customers think that when a winery moves away from natural cork and adopts a new kind of closure that it’s a money-saving move. On the contrary, the cost of using a screw cap is actually slightly higher (due to different glass bottle and closure with modifications to bottling equipment) than our previous synthetic white wine closures. But we think this is money well-spent to ensure that every Markham wine you serve is in perfect condition.

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Man Down!

Bryan-Kim200  First Day of Harvest200  Harvest 2011 KN BAD200

Man down!  I've been traveling around the country as I occasionally do, but this year is different as I feel like a road warrior having already visited 10 cities since the first of the year. Our patriarch and president at the winery, Bryan Del Bondio, is in recovery from joint replacement surgery. Our winery family and friends all wish him a speedy return to duty!  It is his 35 years of traversing the country tirelessly that has given Markham wines a household name. His energy and sense of humor have touched so many that there is never a trip that I take where good wishes aren't passed along to him. Frankly, I don't know how he does it. Just last night I was on the wrong floor in my hotel wondering why my key didn't work until I realized I was on the wrong floor! The long hours spent working with each local distributor, hoping to impress every chef and restaurateur you meet and enjoying the company of all our fans while sampling the most amazing meals is both gratifying and humbling. But I'm exhausted, so please get well soon so I can pass the baton back, Bryan!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Early Budbreak Deja Vu

Budbreak Day 1
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Budbreak Day 2

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Budbreak Day 3

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A sideways glance at the vineyard as I drove into the winery this morning had me jumping out of my car and investigating what was going on in the vineyard. Just as I suspected, another early budbreak! The Sauvignon Blanc vineyard belonging to our neighbor just south of the winery had buds pushing out from their dormant canes and the pruning cuts showing the telltale signs of wetness as the vines spring to life. This is healthy sign that the grapevines have plenty access to water at their feet. Of course we still have a full two months of watching the weather until all threat of frost has passed, somewhere around Mother’s Day. Here in Napa Valley, fans are used in our vineyards to move the cold air when the temperatures dip below 35°F to protect the delicate new growth. Good thing too, because our 2013/2014 winter has been one of the driest on record here in California. I am happy to report our reservoirs are full from early March rains, plus our groundwater tables appear to be strong at each of our estate vineyard wells. Luckily grapevines thrive with limited water so using careful crop and canopy management will allow us to make excellent quality wines again this year.

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Watching Ourselves on TV - AWKWARD!

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Much like you, I am viewing the Vintage TV series filmed at Markham Vineyards for the first time. Well that’s not entirely correct, because I lived the 2012 harvest! I was in Chicago to watch the premier with the other winemakers, each of us ribbing each other as we awkwardly waited to view ourselves on screen. However what actually resonated for me in the first episode was how all the winemakers were thinking the same thoughts and feeling similar pressures that harvest brings. As I relaxed, I allowed myself to remember the vintage…the nervous energy before we began, the acceptance of the inevitable collision of varietals and finally the joy we all still treasure from being a part of the wine business. I’m excited to see more of this Markham harvest time capsule and watch my boys proudly work their hearts out for me!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

 

 

A Vintage Year for Markham

Chelsea Peter Antoine  Dan Dan  Chelsea photo Harvest Sweatshirts2

Soon everyone will have an insider’s view into how wines are made here at Markham Vineyards through the public television series Vintage: Napa Valley 2012 (check your local listings). I’m not really sure how it came about – it all happened so fast.

I won’t lie; the prospect of a camera crew following us around during harvest wasn’t something in which I had any interest at first. It’s the busiest time of the year here at the winery and my thoughts need to stay focused not only on the wines I WANT to make, but on the wines that are BEING made daily. But Vintage producers Peter Backeberg and Antoine AR Hunt were passionate about sharing the story of how wine is made, giving the public at large unrestricted insight into an age-old process that is typically surrounded in mystique and romance. The cellar crew and I were won over and happy to share our story with people who had such a vision. Hopefully you will see how seriously we take our jobs but also that we are a family putting our love, sweat and tears into each and every wine during the organized chaos that is harvest. CHEERS to Peter & Antoine for bringing it to life for all to see!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls