October 2014 News from Rangeland Wines
Rangeland Wines in San Luis Obispo October 15 and 16
We’ll be pouring 3 wines at Novo Restaurant on Wednesday, October 15 from 5-7 pm. Stop by and have a complimentary glass! Winemaker Shannon Gustafson and Rangeland proprietor Laird Foshay will be on hand, offering our 2013 Flora Rose’, and the just released 2012 Mistletoe and 2012 GSM. Novo is located at 726 Higuera Street, and has a lovely creekside patio. You just might want to stay for dinner.
The following evening Shannon and Laird will be pouring at Central Coast Wines from 6-9 pm during SLO’s famous Farmer’s Market. Conveniently located on 712 Higuera Street, just north of Broad Street, this well-stocked wine shop features high quality, hard to find Central Coast wines. We will be pouring 4 wines from our current lineup; all featured wines are 10% off at shop for the entire week. Please stop by and say hello.
Gates Open for Harvest Wine Weekend October 17-19
Harvest Fest is just around the corner and we are in the mood to celebrate since we just finished picking grapes this week! See this video of harvest action footage, shot by multi-talented vineyard manager Nathan Stuart. We will be pouring wines at the ranch Friday October 17 through Sunday October 19. We'll be offering some newly released 2012 Rangeland wines and some freshly fermented samples from our 2014 harvest. We’ll also have outstanding wine specials. On Saturday and Sunday only, we’ll be grilling our grass-fed beef and lamb sliders for purchase. You’re free to dine here on our sliders or bring your own picnic. Club members and their guests, as always, taste for free.
If you’ve not yet joined either our wine or beef clubs, please consider it! You’ll receive a 20% discount on all ranch products—wine, beef, lamb, events, and who knows what else we’ll think of. Our gate will be open Friday-Sunday, from 11 am to 5 pm, no appointment necessary. Please check our website for directions. We hope to see you then!
Rangeland Pick-up Party
On Saturday, November 15, we’ll host our third annual Rangeland fall pick-up party at our home and ranch headquarters. Please plan to come out to the ranch and pick up your November wine club, lamb share or ground beef order. You'll enjoy some home-cooked food and live music. We’ll be pouring wine, serving grass-fed beef chili and some delectable lamb dish, and will have lots of other goodies to nosh on. If weather permits, you can tromp through the vineyards or visit our animals. But really, we hope it’s a RAINY day! We look forward to opening our home and celebrating with you, our loyal club members. You’ll receive an email invitation at the beginning of November with more details.
November Wine Club
Our fall wine club is an exciting list, including several newly released 2012s. These 2012 wines display intense fruit and vivid structure from that hot, dry vintage. Here is the club lineup for this fall, which will be available for pickup November 15 and will ship the week of November 17:
- 2011 Mistletoe
- 2012 Mistletoe
- 2012 GSM
- 2012 Watershed
- 2012 Cabernet
- 2012 Petite Sirah
If you’d prefer to customize your order, just send us an email. As always, you’re free to add more wines (while they last) to your wine club order. Just in time for the holidays!
Lamb & Mistletoe Holiday Special
We are offering a terrific special for fall—a 20 pound lamb share with 3 bottles of 2012 Mistletoe for just $300 ( (plus $51 shipping in CA only, or pick-up for free) before club discounts. The lamb share is one half a lamb—wonderful meat for special occasions and holidays, and also a great gift for your foodie friends and family. It retails for $250. The 2012 Mistletoe is a lush, easy drinking blend, retailing for $28/bottle. This offer gives you 10% off regular prices before you apply your wine or beef club discount—an unbeatable deal. The lamb share includes:
- 1 rack
- 1 loin, cut into 1” chops
- Sirloin and shoulder chops
- 2 leg roasts
- Riblets and stew meat
- Ground lamb and/or sausage in 1 pound packages
Harvest and Drought Update
Our people, livestock and vineyard have been under tremendous pressure in this third and most severe year of California’s drought. Nonetheless, we got through the harvest with good quality fruit which promises to produce some intense wines. Our harvest started earlier than ever and was extremely compressed; we picked our first grapes on September 1 (ironically, Labor Day!) and within two weeks had picked about 85% of the vineyard. Our last grapes were harvested October 7.
Because of the drought, we’ll be making less wine than last year, and also had less fruit to sell to our grape customers, since the vineyard produced only about 60% of its potential. We pumped our lake nearly dry and ran our generator 2,000 hours this summer in an effort to keep the irrigation system going. The costs (in time, money and stress) were steep as we spent much of the season chasing water and repairing the systems that deliver it. And unlike most wineries, we also need water for our cattle (150 head) and sheep (250 head). According to Laird, we “farmed our asses off,” paying extraordinary attention to our vines and animals, with much less to show for it. We’re cautiously optimistic about a rainy winter and a return to normal.
Our entire team really steps up hard at harvest but nobody works harder this time of year than our winemaker Shannon. She is an extreme juggler with hundreds of details to keep track of. In late August Shannon orchestrated the bottling of 1100 cases of our 2012 wines, and then we began harvest 5 days later. She does fruit sampling, measuring sugar and acid content for Rangeland Wines and for other wineries that buy our grapes. She “calls the pick” for each vineyard block (often just a few rows at a time), a critical judgment call that incorporates sampling data, flavors, trends in weather and past experience. She oversees all the grape processing and fermentation, involving dozens of tanks in various stages, then presses and barrels every lot of wine. All of this activity is tracked in worksheets and emails transmitted from her laptop at the winery. Although we like to describe our wines as field-crafted, they surely do not make themselves. We are extremely grateful to Shannon for her incredible work ethic and the beautiful, terroir-driven wines she produces.
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