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It seems only appropriate that on Earth Day we find ourselves out in the vineyards and clearing up the cellar. Many of you may have been following our participation in the Napa Valley Vintners #NapaGreen and #D2E (Down to Earth) campaigns this month on social media, in celebration of Earth Day. If you haven’t seen our latest posts and photos of our green initiatives, check them out on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, InstagramGoogle+ or LinkedIn accounts! Watch the video above to see our rock star Cellar Master Robert Diaz demonstrating our new on-demand LED light system in the cellar. These new lights will save tons of energy since they will automatically switch on when someone is in the immediate area and then switch off when there’s no one around. We have worked very hard to earn Napa Green certifications for our vineyards and our winery and are very proud to be making wine in a sustainable way. A major part of this job is working WITH Mother Nature to make the best wine possible – we realize that we get back every bit of effort we put in to responsible farming, harvesting and water management practices. Just as good milk comes from happy cows and good eggs come from happy chickens, good wine comes from happy grapes grown in lovingly maintained vineyards!

 

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We had some healthy rain totals at the beginning of the month which thankfully pushed our annual rainfall closer to our normal average. However, our lack of winter weather has given the grape vines license to grow like crazy. Crews are trying to stay on top of suckering (photos above) which removes green growth at the base of the vines and saps energy from the ripening process. Even though we are still counting down the last few days of frost season here in Napa Valley, our young Chardonnay vines are already starting to think about blooming. Guess I had better get back to thinking about blending and bottling the Chardonnay we have in barrels early or we’ll never be ready to harvest in August!  

 

Back in the cellar, our bottling line has been clinking away with one scheduled bottling after another. Watch the video above to see our 2014 Markham Sauvignon Blanc getting a single drop of liquid nitrogen which protects the wine from exposure to oxygen before the screwcap is applied on its way to the labeler. I might have already sneaked a bottle to taste this pineapple and citrus-laced beauty at home...

 

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We just finished bottling our thirty-fourth vintage of Markham Merlot. It’s hard to imagine I have been here for 23 of those vintages, having made 13 of them! Our Cellar 1879 Red Blend is next on the bottling line, although our bottling supervisor, Bert, is currently spending a few days at home as he enjoys the magic of being a new father. Sleep while you can, Bert – harvest isn’t far off!  - Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Background photo © Melissa Mermin.