Spring 2005 Newsletter

Welcome to the spring, 2005 version of Ophir Wines newsletter. We use this bulletin to keep you up-to-date on coming events that will feature our wines, what’s going on in the vineyards, release of new wines, stores and restaurants that offer Ophir wines, and perhaps the occasional recipe or article that we found interesting and wanted to share.

Springtime Placer Wineries Tour & Open House - May 14th

To celebrate the wine making renaissance going on in Placer County, the wineries of Placer county will host a series of “Open Houses” -- also known as the “Placer Hills Winery Tour” -- beginning this spring and continuing every three months or so, to acquaint new and old friends with the award-winning wines being made by the winemakers of Placer County. While the focus will be on wine and wine-tasting, we’ll provide a variety of lively programs for our guests to enjoy, including tasty treats, art displays and live music, hands-on vineyard and winery demonstrations, create-a-blend sessions, and more. At every stop on the tour you will meet the real people who planted the vines, grow the grapes and make the wine. Detailed information and links to maps is available on the Placer Hills Winery Tour web site.

New Wine Releases - May, 2005

In conjunction with the Placer Hills Winery Tour event, Ophir Wines has readied three new wines for release in May, 2005. Our long-awaited '02 Petite Sirah Reserve, the '04 Oui©, and our '04 Sauvignon Blanc will all be available to taste and purchase at the event. Read more about our newly released wines here.

Syrah and Sirah? What's the Difference?

"What is the difference between Syrah and Petite Sirah?" We're glad you asked, because Syrah is our mainstay and we also make good use of its genetic cousin, Petite Sirah. Since we're about to release our 2002 Petite Sirah (Reserve) it's a good time to offer our web site and newsletter readers a comparison of the two related varieties and the wines they produce. Our winemaker, Mike Abbott, has written an informative essay about Syrah and Sirah that you can find here.

Vineyard Report

By Paul Burns

Every year is unique. This simple statement holds both the reward and challenge of agriculture. Last spring the rains quit the first week of March. This spring I feel as if I am in New England -- if you don't like the current weather wait ten minutes and it will change.  One day it is sunny and 80, that night it is cold and raining.

While the weather has been a challenge for growers, the vines are taking the weather in stride. In fact bud break began March 14th, (my birthday) -- a week earlier than last year which was the earliest in recent memory. This phenomenon wasn't limited to our vineyards in Ophir. Reports from each of the growing regions in California told of budbreak being a week ahead of last year.

With the early budbreak came concern over a late frost. A late frost won't kill the vines, but will destroy this year's fruit. Watching the weather report one night I was relieved to see the lows were to be in the high 30's. The next morning I was greeted by frost on my windshield. Holding my breath I checked the vineyard which is on a slope so less prone to frost than our house. No damage.  There will be grapes for Ophir Wines this year.  It rained last night so I am off to sulfur the vines to prevent mildew.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Gold Blossom Vineyard for our Open House on May 14.

Until then,
À votre santé!
Craig, Mike and Paul

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