by Winemaker Scott Shirley
Justin’s 18th Annual Wine Society gala was held August 2nd; it is always fun to see familiar faces return each year for this spectacular event. Guests were entertained with live music, delicious food, and tastes of our current release wines. I enjoy sharing the excitement of faithful Wine Society members as they extol the virtues of their favorite wine. Of course, I kept very busy pouring Isosceles Reserve in the far back recesses of the winery’s caves, as barrel pyramids holding the 2013 vintage watched on silently. The natural cycle of winemaking, of the seasons, and of the progression from a berry on the vine to a smile on the lips is readily apparent during this event. This reunion of friends has a very similar atmosphere to the arrival of Harvest. As summer comes to an end, the expectancy of this grand celebration coincides with the thrill mounting for another successful harvest.
The 2014 harvest, with recent weeks of prolonged heat and the third successive year of drought, will be an early one. Small clusters and tiny berries are accumulating sugar quickly; picking will probably commence within a week. I look forward to visiting vineyard blocks which I haven’t seen in a year, walking rows and tasting fruit characteristic of each distinct site. I am reminded of how the block performed in previous years and consider the possibilities for the current vintage. There are also new additions to the family! Just as there are new friendships made at each Gala, we have new vineyard plantings which will be coming into production. Our vineyards off Adelaida Road are now in their third leaf and will produce a crop for the first time. Last week, I tasted several Merlot blocks (likely the first red grapes to come in) and am impressed with the concentration of flavors already apparent on these young vines. The 2012’s are showing beautifully in the glass right now, and I know the power contained in those barrels of ’13 will prove impressive, but the promise of the future for Justin wines is my real reason for smiling!