Laird Foshay
 
September 30, 2013 | Laird Foshay

September News From Rangeland Wines and ASR

Free Shipping on Wine Orders

Your Rangeland Wines stock may be getting low and our next wine club shipment is about 2 months away.  Now is the time to order some more wine! We’re offering free shipping on Rangeland Wines orders (3-bottle minimum) through October 15. Just go to our website (www.RangelandWines.com) and place the order, no coupon required. 

Early Harvest

We picked our first grapes of the season—Grenache and Syrah—on September 5, which is the earliest start to harvest we’ve had in several years. We’ve harvested almost every weekday since then. The winery is now packed with active fermentation tanks. With rainfall at 60% of normal, and this grape growing season the hottest on record, we’re seeing a lot of early ripeness in the vineyard. Small grape berries are producing dark colors, tangy acids and grippy tanins that may make 2013 a particularly vivid vintage. We will likely be finished picking grapes by Harvest Festival (October 18-20), which will really put us in the mood to celebrate!

A typical harvest day begins with vineyard manager Nathan rolling out on clanking caterpillar tractor at 6:30 AM. He has a trailer with empty bins and a picking crew in tow. By mid-day, tons of fruit has been hand-picked by us or labor crews into lug boxes and then dumped into 1000 lb bins. We then truck the fruit, using the family pickup and a flatbed trailer, to nearby Thacher Winery, where we process our wine.

During the afternoon, the fruit is mechanically de-stemmed and then hand sorted by all of us on a vibrating stainless-steel table. It is then crushed by rollers into tall plastic tanks where fermentation can begin converting the sugars to alcohol. Winemaker Shannon oversees all the work: sampling the grapes, calling the pick, blending some lots at birth for co-fermentation, measuring sugars and acids, moving tanks into the sun to speed up fermentations or cooling them in the barrel room—and 100 other details on dozens of lots of wine. All these tanks are punched down manually two or three times a day, which can be a real test of endurance. After a couple of weeks “on the skins”, the fermentations are typically complete and Shannon presses the wine with a hydraulic basket press and puts it in tanks, then barrels for aging. (We are pressing our first 2013 lot this weekend.) At the end of the day, often at sundown, we begin cleaning equipment for the next day’s harvest. The next day we get up and do it again, amen.

Harvest Festival October 18-20

We will be pouring exclusively out at the ranch during Harvest Festival on Friday October 18 through Sunday October 20. We plan to offer tastes of our unreleased 2011 Rangeland wines along with freshly fermented samples from our 2013 vintage. On Saturday and Sunday only, we will also have grilled grass-fed beef and lamb sliders on hand for purchase. You’re free to dine here on our sliders or bring your own picnic. If you’ve never been out to the ranch, this is a perfect opportunity to see where we grow our grapes and raise our cattle, sheep, and honey bees. Club members taste for free. If you join our wine club or beef club, you’ll receive a 20% discount on all ranch products. Our gate will be open Friday-Sunday, 11-5 pm. Check our website for directions. We hope to see you then.

Lamb Shares Available

There are only a few lamb shares left from our summer harvest. We plan to harvest several more lambs in November, but if you just can’t wait, now’s the time to secure some of our delicious lamb for autumn entertaining. Our lamb is extremely tender and mild—we’ve gotten rave reviews. The Lamb Share (20 pounds for $225 before wine or beef club discounts) includes half of a lamb, or approximately: 

  • 1 rack
  • 1 loin, cut into 1” chops
  • Sirloin and shoulder chops
  • 2 leg roasts
  • 2 shanks
  • Riblets and stew meat
  • A few pounds of ground lamb in 1 pound packages

Rangeland Pick-up Party November 16 

On Saturday, November 16, we will host our second annual  Rangeland fall pick-up party at our home, the ranch headquarters. Come out to the ranch and pick up your November wine club or beef club shipment and enjoy some live music. We’ll have some newly harvested lamb shares for sale as well. We’ll be pouring wine, serving grass-fed beef chili or lamb stew (we just haven’t decided), and will have plenty to nosh on—home baked cookies, local cheeses and other appetizers. If weather permits, you can tromp through the vineyards or visit our animals, but as farmers, we hope we get rained on and this drought becomes a fading memory. We look forward to opening our home and celebrating with our loyal club members.

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