Fall Newsletter 2003

Due to the many odd weather variations the region experienced over the past several months, the 2003 harvest has been a long, drawn out affair, with the grapes being picked "a little here, a little there."

The Sauvignon Blanc from our Green Ravine Vineyard came in first, in the second week of September. The quality was good but the yield was down by 40% from last year. To meet our production goal of approximately 150 cases we went to a Napa Valley vineyard that produces fruit for some very high-end wineries and obtained an additional ton. We're keeping the two lots of white wine separate for now and we'll make blending decisions as the wines come into their own.

The Petite Sirah from our neighbor's Granite Bay Vineyard came in next, with excellent quality but reduced yield. The wine promises to be a blockbuster. We also obtained a ton of Sangiovese from our Granite Bay neighbors, which we're turning into rosé.

The "little here, little there" pattern continued through late September, as we picked and crushed the small amounts of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah at Paul's Vineyard and Cabernet Sauvignon from Craig's. These followed the year's trend of very good quality but lower yield than last year.

We began to hit our stride the last week in September as we crushed two and a half tons of Syrah from the upper block of Paul's vineyard. We'll press that wine today (Oct. 3) to make room for Sunday's big event, when we'll pick and crush about 5 tons of Syrah, and a small amount of Cinsault from the lower block of Paul's vineyard. Sunday marks our annual picking party, where lots of friends gather to help with the biggest harvest day and share a spectacular lunch and maybe a little wine.

It now looks as if we'll have a couple of weeks' breather until about the third week in October when the Mourvedre from Paul's vineyard will be ready. Once that's crushed, pressed and in the tanks, the excitement, anxiety and exhaustion of the 2003 harvest, the annual grapes-into-wine ritual, will be done.

More harvest notes can be found here:

2003 Harvest

Harvest Notes - 09/01/03
Harvest notes - 09/11/03

Auburn Wine Festival

Placer County's growing wine industry isn't a secret any more. With five bonded wineries and more than a dozen vineyards, the county is regaining its reputation as a top producer in California.

To help celebrate this resurgence, the Placer County Wine & Grape Association, in cooperation with the Old Town Business Association and the Downtown Business Association, is throwing a party and everyone is invited. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 4, for the inaugural Auburn Wine Festival. Ophir Wines is pleased to be among the distinguished wineries invited to participate in this event.

More information about the festival is available at the Carpe Vino website.

The 2002 Wines

The 2002 Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé are bottled and awaiting label approval from ATF.

Syrah and Petite Sirah continue to age in the barrels; We expect the Syrah to be ready to bottle in the Spring of 2004 and the Petite Sirah in the autumn of 2004.

Craig Green, Paul Burns, Mike Abbott
Ophir Wines - Fall 2003

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