While everyone else is just beginning to awaken from their winter slumber, we’ve been hard at it getting ready for the new year, literally. Lodi vineyards are in full swing and you can easily begin to see the difference, particularly when one vineyard is pruned and the one next door, isn’t. Each year, pruning crews must come through and remove the previous year’s fruiting canes or spurs.
Dormant pruning is a critical component of the grape production cycle, protecting the vines’ health and ensuring a good crop. Grape growers generally prune their vines with the intent to achieve a balance between fruit production and adequate shoot growth. Too many shoots, and you can wind up with a crowded canopy, providing too much shade and/or too many grapes, making it difficult for the grapes to ripen in time for harvest. Too few, and you wind up with little or no fruit, lowering the yield and quality.
Because the best fruit is only produced on new shoots, healthy new canes must be “pushed” by the vine every year, and this means that growers must prune annually. Depending upon the variety of grape and the winegrowing region, growers often employ a pruning formula, which can vary based upon the individual vineyard. Believe it or not, there can be significant variances in soil type, temperature and watering conditions, even between vineyards that sit adjacent to one another.
Freshly cut canes litter the ground underneath these newly pruned vines. This time of year, vines are especially susceptible to infection as water and sap drips from the open wounds in the wood.
Beginning in January and running through the end of February, California vineyards are filled with the sounds of hand tools lopping off old and dead spurs. Music carries through the fog in the early morning and conversations blend as the morning sun warms the air and the day progresses. Sleeping vineyards don a manicured look as last year’s canes are shed, and the vines are readied for a new growing season.
If you drive through the valley, you’ll see countless men and women working in the vineyards, making their way up and down the rows, skillful caretakers pruning each vine. It’s the official first step towards our ultimate goal, a bountiful harvest, and it’s exciting to watch, knowing that we’ve begun yet another season.
As February approaches, growers watch the weather, monitor their fields and push to get their vineyards pruned. In the meantime, if you have the opportunity, take a drive in and around the area. Slow down and notice the activity in the local vineyards. There’s a unique life force that drives all of agriculture and here in Lodi, we’re fortunate to be a part of that energy.
The sparkling wine category holds a special place in the hearts of both winemakers and drinkers alike. For some it’s the “pop” of the cork that signals a celebration at hand, while for others, it’s the fizz or bubbles that float to the roof of your mouth, signaling the zesty acidity that soon follows. As for the winemakers, they understand that if they’ve done their job well, those bubbles will take all of the glory. But for our family, sparkling wine has and always will hold a special place in all of our lives.
Having been in and around the wine industry since his youth, Robert Indelicato understood what it took to create a good glass of wine. And while you may think that “good wine” is simply an objective term, in Robert’s viewpoint, a good wine represents all of the best qualities of that specific varietal in a style that showcases the region of origin. Over the years, he has worked diligently to perfect his craft and create high quality examples from each region.
Both Robert and Leslie grew up in and around the great Central Valley and often celebrated their favorite occasions with a glass of California’s sparkling wine. Within the past decade, they noticed that the flavor was often lackluster, the quality was ailing, and the consistency was virtually nonexistent.
Ever the instigator, Leslie challenged her husband to create a high quality, consistently superb sparkling wine. With his professional reputation on the line, Robert delved into the méthode champenoise process to produce the highest quality sparkling wine.
What came to be was nothing short of serendipitous. The result was a sparkling wine that one can enjoy on every occasion, or even on no particular occasion. Its fresh acidity balanced with a smooth body, crisp fruit and silky yeast character clearly demonstrates that a quality sparkling wine does exist and that it can be produced in Lodi.
What started out as a friendly wager has become the lifeblood of our family business. Discovered by chance, Serendipity Sparkling Wine has forever changed our lives and given us yet another reason to raise a glass high and to be thankful for all of life’s serendipitous moments. May you find your serendipity and never look back.