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Hopper Creek MEI continue to be amazed at just how far along we are in our grape growing season. Wandering the vineyards the past week with our vineyard manager, Peter, confirms what I’ve been secretly telling myself - harvest is less than three months away! Only the Cabernet vines have just finished blooming, everything else is already starting to take on size. There appears to be a healthy cluster count which is surprising due to the above average yields last year. The vines are happy with the warm, dry weather and extra pampering in preparation of the drought conditions. Check out the Merlot leaf I’m holding in the photo that was the size of my head!

  Both Peter and I are reminded of the 1997 vintage, one of my first vintages where I focused on the fruit in the field. That year has the historical significance of being our earliest here at Markham Vineyards with an August 7 first day of crush. It was with that in mind that I did what any seasoned veteran would do and ran screaming to my crew immediately pushing our August Chardonnay bottling into July. Looks like our favorite time of the year is coming early, and I am definitely OK with that!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls