Rhys Vineyards is, together with Ridge Vineyards and Mount Eden Vineyards, the stars of the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation. The company was founded by Kevin Harvey, who in 1995 planted a tine vineyard with Pinot Noir on his property and a few years later started to make some wines in his garage. The first commercial vintage was 2003, and since then production has increased over the years. In 2006 Jeff Brinkman was hired as winemaker. In 2009 a brand new winery and wine cellar was built on the Skyline Vineyard property, at one of highest peaks of the mountain. All wines are small lot fermented (there are 80 one ton open top fermenters in stainless steel and nine in French oak) and kept in French oak barrels in the caves.
Altogether Rhys Vineyards owns 18.20 hectares of vineyards in Santa Cruz Mountains and below in the San Mateo appellation, but they also planted around 10.00 hectares with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on high slopes in the deep end of the Anderson Valley appellation in Mendocino. That vineyard will bear fruit in 2013, or 2014.
Production is small, around 4 000 cases per year, and almost everything is sold through the winery’s mailing list.
Napa Valley Harvest 2013 Report
A seamless year of steady weather and optimal ripening brings in above average yields and excellent quality fine wine grapes
10/22/2013 - St. Helena, CA: The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) reports that the region’s winemakers expect to be done with the 2013 harvest within the next week. “Early, even and excellent” are three words being used to describe this year’s growing season and the Napa Valley wine grapes that have come from it, reflecting the consistent quality for which this world famous wine region is known.
A warm, dry spring brought early bud break, helped with canopy vigor and berry size and created ideal conditions for flowering and fruit set under sunny skies. With the exception of one heat spike in late June/early July, temperatures were consistently in the zone for optimal vine activity, resulting in notably healthy vines as fruit went through veraison and started ripening.
The August 1 start of harvest was the earliest in recent history. White wine grapes came in at a furious pace throughout that month, moving on to lighter reds by early September. Two brief mid-September rains had virtually no impact on the grapes. The vast majority of the more delicate skinned grapes had already been harvested and sunny weather with breezes followed the rains, allowing for the mostly Cabernet Sauvignon that remained to dry out almost immediately. The cooler, sunny weather throughout October allowed the final grapes still on the vine to linger longer, developing more phenolic and flavor maturities with sugar levels remaining steady.
As this harvest comes to a close, it is about two weeks earlier than other Napa Valley harvests in the last decade. Yields on the whole have been above average.
“In a nutshell, this vintage has given us the extraordinary gift of enabling us to pick exactly what we wanted, when we wanted, at perfect ripeness and ideal hang time,” noted Paul Colantuoni, winemaker at Rocca Family Vineyards.
Winemakers from around the valley agree the 2013 vintage holds exceptional promise and potential and exceeded expectations following on the heels of 2012 – another year that has been described as “nearly perfect.”