Bottled the 2020 vintage in July – Cab and Syrah. Both came out very nicely and while the cab is great now, it will only get better as it ages in the bottle.

We discussed various options for the 2022 harvest and settled on Zin and Cab. We were all set to pickup around 1200lbs of Zin at the beginning of October but just before we went down to Martin Ranch to pick up the grapes, we got word that the Zin fruit was in bad shape and they recommended we not try to proceed with it. There was rain and this caused some significant bunch rot (very common with Zinfandel vines that are not meticulously well maintained). David offered some options and we ended up picking Merlot as our fruit instead of Zin.

Picked up 1200 lbs of Merlot on 10/3 and left the 2nd T-bin so they could crush/destem the cab directly into that and we could then pick it up when it’s ready. We picked up the T-bin with 1200 lbs of Cabernet that Friday (10/7). Both finished well but the Merlot has had trouble with MLF (Malolactic Fermentation). As of this time, we have re-inoculated it and are hoping to get MLF finished in the next few weeks. Both are in barrel but the Merlot is in a special enclosure with a heater to keep the temp around 68F to induce MLF.

Additionally, we did have a chance to have a “winemakers dinner”. We enjoyed drinking and eating and talking about wine (and other stuff too!).


Merlot was tasting “sharp” or “tangy”. MLF never finished based on results of samples sent to the lab. David gave us some options and recently we decided to just wait and see what happens. Recent tasting (June ’23) indicates the Merlot is not as tangy.

We decided not to rack either barrel but came up with a plan on how to rack the day we bottle and only pumping one direction (not the usual of pumping out of the barrel and then back in again). On that day, we’ll have all the equipment out and ready so it’s just a matter of setting it up to pump into the elevated stainless tank and then waiting while it drains into the barrel. (What should we do while we wait? 🍷🧀)

Cab is coming along and will likely be even better than ’21. We’re scheduled to bottle the ’21 wines this Sept. Ray thought the Syrah was the best Syrah he’s tasted from FiveGuys and even liked it more than the ’21 Cab. But then, Cab likes to sit in bottle for a year or more before you drink it so we’re a couple years away from seeing it’s true potential.