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With another harvest successfully completed here at Markham Vineyards, I thought I would get everyone’s individual take on the 2016 vintage. I asked everyone in production to share a single word of what this harvest meant to them...and here are their very honest answers.

KJT723


As our associate winemaker, James, said (and I concur), that the 2016 wines we have been creating together are crazy, ‘off-the-hook’ good! It’s true that the scheduling and heat challenged us repeatedly. However, our vineyard manager, Peter, (who went with the word challenging) utilized a night picking schedule to deliver beautifully cool fruit. This additionally benefitted the workers who were happy to avoid hot days in the field. There were some really stressful days at the beginning of harvest when our facilities manager, Lynn, was under pressure to get our refrigeration working properly in our Chardonnay barrel room. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to develop an accelerated heartbeat (Lynn's word - tachycardia!) while suffering through sleepless nights? Of course once the room chilled down, Cecilio, one of our dedicated cellar workers, could be found wearing his hat with ear flaps to stay warm in the nearly freezing 45ºF cellar as he barreled down our Chardonnay.

CecelioJesus


In his third year running our cellar master, Robert, didn’t skip a beat when I asked for a one-word vintage description…experience! Our experienced cellar hands and harvest interns agree that his positivity inspires those with whom he works. It doesn’t get better for a winemaker than to hear that her cellar crew describe this vintage as happy (Pascual), exciting (Alejandro), content (Hector), fun (Jesus) and interesting (Carlos). Tony, another of our cellar crew, is still busy running our two Bucher presses. He started pressing our Sauvignon Blanc in August and will continue to press red grapes through until November. We’re trying to get him involved in our daily afternoon tastings, where we decide which tanks to press or keep ‘long skin contact’ for 30+ days. In an incredible vintage like this, the decision to keep Cabernet on its skins longer is a no-brainer to keep as many tanks as possible as we make ‘iron fist in the velvet glove’ wines!

DaveTony


We were lucky to get two new employees on staff this year and are happy with Diego’s recent commitment to join the cellar crew permanently. Tyler, our new enologist, has been such a relief to James and me running our laboratory upstairs, overlooking the fray of the cellar. He fell in love with the poignancy of our Charbono so much that he shoveled the tank during one of the longest days of harvest. Unfortunately, one of our harvest interns had a short, abbreviated harvest due to an outside injury. And in the middle of harvest our patriarch, Bryan Del Bondio, lost his father, Al (whom we all loved) - making this vintage bittersweet.

shirtback


I was shocked when our bottling manager, Bert, gave me his one-word description since it was the same as mine - FAMILY. We are a big family here at Markham Vineyards, more so at harvest than any other time of the year. During the peak of crush, we all worked 13 days in a row where we put in more than 12 hours per shift… it was totally intense (as submitted by Dave)! Who better to spend it with than the family you love and respect, especially when the wines you create together are so incredibly powerful (and yes, poignant). - Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls