A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Chapin and visiting Chapin Family Vineyards, source of our 2010 Syrah.
The vineyard is located in the far Northeast of Temecula, near Lake Skinner, situated at about 1400 feet above sea level. The Syrah was one of the first group of varietals planted in 2002.
Steve is meticulous with his vineyard, and has enlisted consultants Enrique Ferro and Marco Cavalieri to help with the task. For the Syrah, unilateral cordon training is employed, with a canopy of 3 feet by 3 feet maintained for each vine to control vegetative character. The canopy is also managed so about 50 percent of the available sunlight falls on the grapes to encourage phenol development without risking sunburn or dehydration of the fruit.
Aggressive pruning and cluster thinning is employed to keep quality high and yields low. Pruning leaves two to three bunches per node, and between 40 and 50 percent of the crop is dropped.
While we first met Steve and toured the vineyard a few weeks ago, these pictures were taken just last weekend. Much of the vineyard was still at véraison - the onset of ripening.
We will be following the grapes progress with Steve in the upcoming weeks, and we're eagerly anticipating the harvest!
(All photos Copyright (c) 2010 Clara Brinkmeier)