The Harvest is the Blend

Harvesting grapes at Old Stake 1901 vineyard

Harvest is always a special time – the culmination of seasons of work by the vineyard team and the grapes themselves. At our Old Stake 1901 Vineyard near Kelseyville in Lake County, over 20 different varieties are picked and then fermented together, so the harvest literally becomes the blend of each vintage.

This is not how most wines are made, or grown, nowadays. Each variety is typically given in its own vineyard, or vineyard block, picked separately, and taken to the winery where it is processed and fermented as its own lot. The winemakers then blend these different elements together to make the finished wine. This is often the case even when the wine is labelled as a single varietal like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. Even this varietal labelling is recently new, and was pioneered by the California wine industry in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies.

So our Old Stake 1901 wine is a step back into history, to a time when growers interplanted several different grape varieties in a single vineyard and the resulting wine was known as a field blend. Of course, not all the vineyards were quite as diverse as Old Stake with its 20+ varieties. Zinfandel is the dominant grape, around 60%, followed by Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Cinsault, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvign­on, Counoise and a host of others, some of which we are still discovering, including a few white grape vines!

Following the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, when you co-ferment several varieties you get a different interaction and a more complex outcome than fermenting separately and blending later. All this adding up to a wine unlike any other and one that we are very happy and excited to be growing and making. Why not buy a 3 pack and try it for yourself?

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