Harvest 2014 Update #2

August 5, 2014

Oakville is currently pretty quiet, although the grapes are ripening at a furious pace, or at least that’s how it feels. Oakville sauvignon blanc will be picked first, and it should be early. We could start picking the week of Aug. 14, as early as we ever have, if not earlier. Overall, yields look good, for all varieties: not high nor low. Vines naturally set just about the right amount of fruit. Quality looks great.”

— Molly Hodgins, Flora Springs Viticulturist

Harvest 2014 Update #1

July 13, 2014

“As veraison nears completion, and continued warm sunny days advance ripening we may see a start to the picking of the Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc fruit as early as the 3rd week in August.

We are very excited about the upcoming harvest. Barring any major heat spikes the warm weather should bring about even ripening, and intense fruit character throughout our vineyards.”

— Shaina Harding, Flora Springs Enologist

Enologist Shaina Harding pouring Trilogy at 2011 Release Party February 2, 2014
Enologist Shaina Harding Pours Trilogy to Guests at the 2011 Trilogy Release Party, February 2, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day with Flora Springs

April 17, 2014

The Komes and Garvey families of Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards came to the wine business as farmers first. Our love of the land influences everything we do.

From the beginning, we have farmed our vineyards using sustainable practices. Not only do these practices make for good neighbors, healthy vineyard workers, and an ecologically-sound place to live and work, they also make for what we think are some pretty outstanding grapes.

Earth Day 2014 Mustard Seed Flower Cover Crop Vineyard Blue Bird Box
A Blue Bird Nesting Box & Mustard Cover-Crop in the Vineyards at The Estate

On Earth Day this April 22, we hope you’ll celebrate with sustainably grown and produced wines from Flora Springs – and to share the story of Flora Springs and sustainability with your friends and loved ones.

From going solar (our panels cover all of the energy needed for our red wine production) to water conservation efforts, learn more about how we work with nature and farm responsibly.

Introducing 2012 Star Star Late Harvest Chardonnay

December 18, 2013

Star Star Chardonnay Lavender Hill Vineyard in Carneros

We have always loved the exotic character of late harvest white wines, and in 2012 we set aside a small quantity of Chardonnay from our Lavender Hill Vineyard in Carneros to make just one barrel of this rich and decadent dessert wine. Our Star Star Chardonnay is absolutely dripping with aromas of honey, bright orange blossom, rich almond and baked caramel apples. Full, luxurious flavors of apricot, orange liqueur, marzipan and apple tatin coat the mouth and linger long into the finish. With its unique warmth and richness, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to fruit tarts and soft cheeses, or it can be served as a dessert unto itself.

Winemaking
Our Star Star Late Harvest Chardonnay was made in the Italian style of “appassimento” (meaning to dry and shrivel), just as the famous Amarone (Veneto) and Sfursat (Lombardia) wines are made each year. The making of appassimento-style wine dates back over 3500 years to the ancient Romans, who regarded it as an elixir of the gods. Just one bottle of this wine requires over two pounds of fresh grapes.

The grapes were harvested on October 31st at 24.7 degrees Brix. Handled individually to avoid breakage or crushing, each cluster was hung up (strung by hand onto long pieces of string) or set out to dry on large burlap sacks, allowing plenty of air flow. After five weeks of drying the weight of the clusters was reduced by roughly 30% and the Brix level was elevated to 33.6 degrees. The greater concentration of sugar was accompanied by a distinct change in flavors and aromatics. After careful pressing, the wine was aged in one neutral French oak barrel for 13 months.

Limited availability – only one barrel produced. Shop now. >

The photos below were taken by the winemaking team at the beginning of the five week drying process.

Star Star Chardonnay Flora Springs Drying on burlap sacks late harvest clusters
Drying on burlap sacks helps to absorb moisture from the late harvest Chardonnay clusters.
Star Star Chardonnay strung by hand to dry in late harvest
Light shining through the curtain of late harvest Chardonnay strung by hand to dry for five weeks.
Star Star Chardonnay late harvest grapes hung up to dry in tradition of Appasimento
Curtain of late harvest Chardonnay grapes hung up to dry in the tradition of Appassimento style wines.

 

2011 Ghost Winery—St Helena Star Wine of the Week

October 10, 2013

St. Helena Star tasting panel Catherine Seda Bugue 2011 Ghost Winery

 

Note: The following article, written by St. Helena Star tasting panel writer Catherine Seda Bugue, was published here in the St. Helena Star on October 10, 2013.

In college, some friends and I resolved ourselves to go trick or treating. Amongst the shorter set, consisting of a few fairy princesses and Draculas, we trumped up the long walkways of the mansions in our college’s ritzy New York suburb. Many a good neighbor greeted us with grins but several also pulled out wine glasses and offered a sip of this or a shot of that. Halloween treats had gone up a notch.

To commemorate their century-old ghost winery, Flora Springs has once again released a special Halloween wine, this time petit verdot. The art on the label by Wes Freed is worth it all (and $20 posters are for sale on the website), but the wine ($55), from fruit on Atlas Peak, will be appreciated by those wanting rich plummy flavors with lots of oak-influenced sweet spice flavors like vanilla and cinnamon.

To get into the ghoulish mood, you can witness the mad scientist (aka GM Nat Komes) at work in the Flora Springs cellar in their newest video on florasprings.com.

Learn more about our 2011 Ghost Winery Petite Verdot here. You can also visit our YouTube channel to watch “It’s Alive!” starring Flora Springs General Manager and Ghost Winery Mastermind Nat Komes.

Flora Springs Winemaker Loves His Sauvignon Blanc

August 6, 2013

Note: Flora Springs Winemaker Paul Steinauer was interviwed by The Press Democrat. The following article was published here on August 6, 2013.

When Paul Steinauer was young, he had a thimble full of wine and said, “dood wine (good wine).”

“I was destined to be a winemaker,” he said.

Steinauer is the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Flora Springs, 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc at $25.

It’s a sassy sauvignon blanc with zesty aromas and flavors. It’s complex, with notes of honeysuckle, pear and lime, and it has a crisp finish.

Steinauer has a good pulse on sauvignon blanc.

“It’s my favorite white wine to drink, so I drink a lot of sauvignon blancs in the course of a year from all over the world,” he said.

Steinauer said the most challenging part of making sauvignon blanc is deciding when to harvest the fruit.

The goal is to “strive for physiological ripeness, yet retain enough natural acidity to carry it through,” he said.

What the uninitiated don’t know about sauvignon blanc is how versatile the wine is, Steinauer said.

“It’s equally as enjoyable to consume by itself, but friendly enough to pair with a plethora of dishes from a citrus salad to your favorite seafood dish,” he said.

This marks Steinauer’s 23rd year at Flora Springs in St. Helena, and before that he worked at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, also in St. Helena.

What most people may not know about Steinauer is that he’s a frequent flyer.

“I have traveled to over 40 countries on all 7 continents,” he said.

What makes him a good winemaker, Steinauer said, is that he’s never lost his passion for the art of wine.

As he puts it, “I have never awakened on Monday morning and not wanted to go to work.”

Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest sauvignon blancs

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of sauvignon blancs, from fruit-forward to tangy.

Our winner is the Flora Springs, 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc, 14.2 percent alcohol, at $25.

A sassy sauvignon blanc with zesty aromas and flavors. Notes of lemongrass, lime and pear, with a crisp finish. Tangy.

You can learn more about our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc here.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Named One of Napa’s Best

July 16, 2013

“This St. Helena winery has long had a fondness for the grape, down to maintaining this particular vineyard with a mix of its own unique clone and heady musqué. Again, the mix of steel, barrel and concrete pays off: It’s ripe and fragrant, full of lily and grapefruit, plus slightly sweet tangerine and peach fruit.”
– Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle, July 2013

We’re very excited to be one of the “examples of Napans who are taking the grape seriously….in a way that reflects ripe, quality fruit and the subtle innovations in the cellar that show the beauty of that fruit.” You can learn more about our 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc here. The original article can be found here.

2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc San Francisco Article One of Napa's best

Pat Garvey Named Napa Valley Grower of the Year

April 23, 2012

Flora Springs Winery and the Komes and Garvey families are pleased to announce that the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) has selected Flora Springs Vineyard Director & Proprietor Pat Garvey as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Napa Valley Grower of the Year award.

The award criteria are: a strong commitment to sustainable practices; recognized leadership in agricultural preservation; dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley community; and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.

In 1978, Pat Garvey traded his Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling for a tractor – and the opportunity to launch a world-class Napa Valley winery with his wife, Julie Garvey, and his brother-in-law John Komes. While Flora Springs started as a fledgling family business nearly three decades ago, today the Komes and Garvey families own and manage more vineyard acres – 600 in all – than most family-owned and managed vineyard holders in the Napa Valley.

Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) selected Flora Springs Vineyard Director & Proprietor Pat Garvey 2012 recipient of the prestigious Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. Harvest 1981.
Pat Garvey (in blue) – Chardonnay Harvest at Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, 1981

As Vineyard Director for all of Flora Springs’ vineyards since its inception, Pat has not only taken the responsibility to remain an innovator with meticulous farming practices to create world-class wines; he has done so with the overarching premise of stewardship and family values: all of Flora Springs’ vineyards are 100% sustainable.

Under Garvey’s watch, Flora Springs has been on the cutting edge of new vineyard practices, from trellising systems to canopy management, to clone selection and hand-harvesting grapes at night. In addition, Pat received organic certification in 2008 from the California Certified Organic Farmers for 120 acres of Flora Springs’ vineyards. Another 240 acres were certified in 2010.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pat was instrumental in establishing the Oakville and Rutherford appellations. Today, grapes grown in the 10 distinct Napa Valley vineyards owned by the Flora Springs family are in high demand. “With 10 different vineyards in six appellations, the ability to develop character in the grapes through careful rootstock selection, clones and vineyard practices, and a dedicated, consistent staff over the past several years, our grapes receive the kind of attention and consistency that can’t be duplicated,” he adds.

Pat Garvey Flora Springs Vineyard Director & Proprietor 2012 Recipient of Napa Valley Growers award Grower of the Year
Pat Garvey – Flora Springs Vineyard Director & Proprietor, 2012

NVG President David Beckstoffer recognized the important place Pat holds in the Napa Valley history book, noting “Pat is a tremendously well-respected grapegrower and a model citizen in our community. His contributions to the Napa Valley are numerous and although he would be the last to say it, he is highly deserving of this special award”.

Wife Julie describes Pat as “alive, optimistic, fun-loving, compassionate, generous, interested, and interesting”. She also mentioned that she is “so proud that Pat is receiving this accolade…and that he never seeks credit, but always deserves it.”

The entire 2012 Grower of the Year award announcement can be viewed on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers website and on the Wine Business Monthy website.

Meet Pat Garvey and son Sean Garvey, Flora Springs Vineyard Manager, and learn more about the focus on organic farming and family succession plans in the webisode below, created as part of Flora’s 100th birthday celebration.

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