We had a special tour of Famighetti Vineyards with Adobe Road Winemaker Garrett Martin and several guests attending this year’s Passport to Dry Creek Valley. This short slide show gives a flavor of the event.
Temps in January and February have been cooler than normal here in Sonoma Wine Country. In fact, at the higher altitudes we can see snow from the vineyard on the mountain tops across the valley. This is a first for us. This is a shot of the west side of Mt. St. Helena from Famighetti Vineyards.
Opens with inviting aromas of honeysuckle and tropical fruit. Peach, vanilla, honey, and spice flavors dominate in this full-bodied white. Really gains complexity and butterscotch nuances with a bit of air in the glass. Best enjoyed slightly chilled, 59F.
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Last Summer we had the pleasure of hosting a wedding of some friends here at Famighetti Vineyard. Although it was warm, it turned out to be a very special evening in the tree house and among the vines. We hope that other friends might choose to have their special day at the vineyard...maybe even one of our own kids!
On June 29th we had the pleasure of hosting Adobe Road Winery owner Kevin Buckler, Winemaker Garrett Martin and the entire winery staff for a casual family BBQ at Famighetti Vineyards. Everyone got a personal vineyard tour and we shared some great food, and of course some wonderful Adobe Road wines! We continue to love our relationship with this group, as well as the really special wines they make with our fruit! Grazie!
Over the Mother's Day weekend this year Sheila and I had the pleasure and good fortune to be visited by Paula (Famighetti) Conway and her daughter Amanda! Paula is the first cousin to my father Dennis and was also born a Famighetti before her father and my grandfather decided to change the name to Farmer. There was an instant familial connection, although we had never met before. Paula, who lives in New Jersey, was visiting her daughter who lives in San Francisco for Mother's Day. Amanda had contacted me in advance and asked if she could come up with her mother. Of course, I said yes. What a small world. And had we never established Famighetti Vineyards, we likely may never have met. Paula brought me a very special photo, which you see here. It shows Paula (sitting on far left), her brother and all her cousins when they were young. My Dad is in there, 3rd from the left, with his brother Bob in the center.
Yesterday (March 13th) we had the official start of the 2018 season with the bud break on the zinfandel, syrah and grenache; almost the exact same day as last year. I expect the viognier will be along shortly. We now move into our 4th season as grape growers here at Famighetti Vineyards. This winter was already significantly different from last year as we have had only 22 inches of rain versus 76 inches this time last year. 2017 was out of the ordinary for rainfall and helped to end the five year drought here in Northern California. It will be interesting to see how this vintage develops.
Today we harvested our zinfandel and viognier at Famighetti. Festivities began at 2 am as there was rain in the forecast we hoped to beat. Needless to say, we had a light drizzle for the almost 7 hours it took to finish. Typically the zinfandel ripens later in the month, but we had several days last weekend of 118 degree F heat that accelerated things. The viognier tastes great and we got over 1 ton more than last year, which made both myself and winemaker Garrett Martin happy. Here is Garrett sorting through the fruit as it was being picked.
What a great morning today, Winemaker Garrett Martin of Adobe Road Winery brought member of the tasting room staff; Tony, Larry and Dawn to visit the vineyard. They got the full tour, with some dirty feet/shoes included. They do a wonderful job and I would encourage everyone to visit their tasting room in Petaluma.
First detection of berry color change at Famighetti this season was July 13, 2017. I was walking through the zinfandel with winemaker Garrett Martin and we came upon the first cluster showing color change. We are not too far away from our third harvest at Famighetti Vineyards now!
The first Famighetti Vineyard designate wine is finally available for sale!!!
The 2015 Viognier from Adobe Road with Famighetti fruit is now available online at: www.adoberoadwines.com/Wines/Current-Selections
Well, after record rainfalls, we have finally had enough warm, dry weather for the buds to push forth from their winter slumber. March 12 we saw the buds begin to break. This is 1 week later than last year (2016). It is good to see the green leaves again and the vineyard looking so vibrant and vital.
I have had many inquiries regarding how this season's excessive rainfall is effecting the vineyard and our life here. Well, never fear, we are still here! So are the grape vines! Just for perspective, let's look at some data. Last growing season (October 1, 2015 - September 31, 2016) we measured a total of 38.5" of rain at the vineyard. This was better than the previous 4 years (drought years remember) but still below the average of 42". So far this growing season (Oct 1, 2016 - today) we have measured 71" of rain! This is almost double the amount of rain we had last season and we still have more to come. So far in 2017 we have had almost 46" of rain in just two months. So far we have had 18 rainy days out of 22 in February. Keep in mind, last February we had less than 1" of rain and 26 sunny days. So, this year will likely be one to remember. Drought officially over!
We did manage to get the vines pruned in January in between raindrops. We have been diligently managing the drainage in the vineyard as one of the biggest enemies of a steep, terraced vineyard like ours is erosion. Since we are on a steep hillside, we don't have to worry about standing water as much as those vineyards in the valley. It will take time once all the rain is done to assess the situation throughout the vineyard. For the most part things have fared pretty well considering.
Both the dog and I are tired of spending the days in doors!
This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our good friends Jeff and Kelly Lavers at the vineyard. This time they were accompanied by their good friends Jeff and Julie Stanley who have now been introduced to Famighetti Vineyards. Jeff and Jeff were committed to using some of their time to do some real WORK on the property as part of their wine country experience. I had the perfect project. We needed to better divert rainwater off the gravel road leading down to the guesthouse/barn. This had become more important as we have had a very wet and rainy "winter" here this season. I had the supplies delivered and tools in place and they brought their labor and ingenuity. In two days we had built and installed 3 "open-top" or box culverts across the road. See photo. It was backbreaking work. Not only did I appreciate the help, but it was very satisfying to have completed such a project and seen the results while relaxing and enjoying a post project glass of red wine or two! I want to thank Jeff and Jeff for the professional job, collaboration and companionship in completing the project, ... and a very special weekend! Next - we build a lake to hold all the rainwater!
Today we harvested all of the zinfandel and grenache! We started at 5am and finished at 11 am. We had the winemaker from Adobe Road onsite this morning with his flashlight inspecting his fruit! Overall we were happy with this year's yield and looking forward to some excellent wines made from the fruit picked today.
We kicked off the 2016 harvest at Famighetti Vineyards this morning by picking the Viognier. The winemaker was on site for the harvest and we brought in 2 tons of very tasty berries.
Since our arrival last August, we have had a lot of discussions about how nice it would be to have a dog around. This turned into lots of online searching and eventually lead to a visit to the Countryside Rescue shelter in Santa Rosa, CA. Sheila had seen a cute dog that needed a home online, so we went to see the dog one afternoon. Upon arriving, we learned that the dog had been adopted hours earlier. While we were standing there listening to the story, I spotted a dog across the yard behind the fence and our eyes met. The rest is history. Before I knew it Sheila had put down a deposit, and we were new dog parents. We named her Elsa. As far as the shelter knew, she was part German Shepherd and part Labrador Retriever. She has already earned her keep chasing wild turkeys and other animals out of the vineyards. Elsa is now one year old and bringing lots of joy and companionship to the family. She loves being in the vineyard with me! Her curiosity has gotten her "skunked" twice now. Despite not learning from her mistake, she has become a true member of the family.