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Snowden Vineyards

Randy Snowden
April 11, 2021 | Randy Snowden

Waking Up!

2020 was a challenge, but against all odds, we’re coming come out with some lovely wines.

They’re reminiscent of the ‘17s – approachable and balanced at a younger point than, say the ‘15s were or the  ‘18s will be.

We dodged loss from fire or smoke ... mostly.  It helped a lot that as traditionalists, we harvest a little earlier.  When the Glass Fire broke out at the end of September, the Petit Verdot was all we had left on the vine.  The fire burned in our direction for several days before stopping less than mile away.   It was our first experience with smoke coming directly off an active fire.  The grapes tasted fine, but sugar tends to mask smokiness.  We decided lay the fruit on the ground to compost and go around until the next vintage.

This winter the vineyards got more than no rain – but we’re on track for a little less than half normal.  And for the first time in our memory, we didn’t get a single storm with enough rain to be sure we hit total field saturation.  This will require extremely careful farming until next winter.

Fortunately, there was enough rain at precisely the right moments for the invigorating cover crop to thrive.  We’ll mow and lightly cultivate to incorporate the legume-heavy cover crop (and the pruned canes from winter) into the soil to fix natural nitrogen, sequester carbon, and strengthen the structure of the soil and the subterranean ecosystem it supports.  And make better wines.


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