Harvest at Stampede Vineyard
On a cool morning in late August, we visited the historic Stampede Vineyard in the Mokelumne River AVA in Lodi to watch our fruit come off the vine. This site is home to 100-year-old, own-rooted Zinfandel. A hundred years ago, only one-third of American households had telephones, and about half had electricity. There are few differences between harvesting methods of the 1920s and 2020s. Gentle handling from vine to bottle is essential to preserving all the incredible flavors and complexities inherent in any slowly ripened wine grape.
The fruit we brought in is uniquely special. It’s from a block planted as field blend, meaning multiple varietals are planted side-by-side. Think of it as “pre-blending” in the vineyard, before the grapes even enter the winery. This particular blend includes Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante, and Mission. Alicante is a richly colored red grape from Southern France that’s bursting with dark fruit and baking spices. Mission is a widely planted Chilean variety, also known as País, that got a bad rap as bulk production grape, but is bright, red fruited like Gamay, and offers wonderful dimension when blended.
This remarkable fruit is destined for something special. Things are gonna get funky (and hands off, but feet on) down in the cellar as these grapes meet foot tread, carbonic maceration, native fermentation, and no filtration for something exciting coming in 2022 to our Fifth Moon line.