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Kimberlee Nicholls at Sunset Magazine

Back in April of this year, I traveled to Sunset Magazine headquarters to be one of the chosen palates to judge their fourth international wine competition - the results of which have just been published in the October 2015 issue. My husband, Charlie, and I have been Sunset subscribers since 1987 when we graduated from college, moved in together, and his father started our annual subscription. It was a thrill and honor to be invited by Sunset's wine editor, Sara Schneider, and judge alongside illustrious industry members in the original Sunset buildings and gardens. Click here to see the wines we liked best. 

There's something you should know about the sea of medals in the marketplace from wine competitions: They're only as good as the judges who award them... When I invited my dream team, the overwhelming response was, "Absolutely, I'd love to be part of that!"
- Sara Schneider, Wine Editor, Sunset Magazine

Kimberlee Nicholls judging wines

Photo above right of Kim tasting by Thomas J. Story, as published in the October 2015 issue of Sunset Magazine.

 

Now on to #napaharvest 2015...

Markham's Yountville Estate panoramaPanoramic view of our Yountville Estate from one of Kim's days in the vineyards.

...it has been "hot, sweet and sticky," to quote one of my favorite rock stars, Sammy Hagar. With the way the vintage progressed, it was half over before we discovered the vintage's rhythm - which was that there was none.  The drought kept the berries small and concentrated with below-average yields. Unbelievably high (100°F+) heat for six full days wreaked more havoc and the winery went from empty to full in a week! As we begin to press our first reds, the deep purple hues show how hard our pumpover crews are working.  The whites are somewhere around half-way through their fermentations, but remember, we just brought them in a couple of weeks ago. Fastest vintage E V E R! No, we're not done, but I can see the finish line! We'll keep a slideshow of our 2015 harvest on the Our Vineyards web page - but please enjoy a first look at the latest photos below.
- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls