Kiger Family Vineyard

Sonoma Valley, california

 



Earliest Harvest Ever: We are always looking to frame life through the best-case-scenario lens. So yes, we are in the throes of a severe drought. And it has been the warmest year in state-recorded history. Alongside those facts is that sunny and dry conditions brought us our earliest budbreak ever in the vineyard: the first week of March. That also gave us very low pressure all season long from fungal predators. The steady, warm temperatures let the grapes grow and ripen evenly, and led to harvest on September 16, three weeks earlier than last year, which had previously been the earliest harvest ever! The earlier we harvest, the lower the chance of a rain episode messing with the condition of the grape clusters. And the earlier they’re picked, the plumper and heavier they are, which matters when you sell the crop based on weight! Our yield was down a little from past years, but quality was great, and our grape buyers at Robert Biale Vineyards anticipate wonderful wines. We were also able to reserve about 1/3 ton of grapes for our home winemaking projects, including Verjus, Rosé, and our custom blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that we call The Odyssey. 

Four-legged Workforce: Our senior lawn-mowing and weed-eating crew was augmented in May by four new wooly apprentices. Three yearling wethers (neutered males) and a two-month old wether joined our family of babydoll southdown sheep, bringing our vineyard maintenance crew to 11. The sheep are supervised and protected by the two maremma Livestock Guardian Dogs, Francesco, who just turned 8 and Marco Polo, now 19 months old and (finally!) emerging on the better side of puppyhood. While on the worse side of puppyhood, Marco played a material role in the loss of a few hens, so our current hen population is 1. The stealthy barn cat, Maddy, is thriving as chief rodent eliminator, and generally keeps himself hidden deep in the blackberry thicket during the day. New Animal Photos Here
Sheep Education: Many winegrowers are seeking information about using sheep to graze in their organic vineyards and orchards. Deb and her friend/partner conduct their 7th annual Sheep School on November 1-2. Sheep School in the Fall and Lamb Camp workshops in the Spring are offered to give people hands-on experience and education and networking with others.
Wool: Deb has succumbed to the siren call of her inner artist, learning to create felted wool pieces as art objects and whimsical wearable items. Her latest obsession is creating natural dyes for the wool from plants on our farm, including blackberries, eucalyptus, grape leaves, and maple seed pods. Photos of wooly balls, mobile, shawl and more are in this gallery.
Lower Vineyard Zinfandel: 
In May, a crew of skilled workers descended upon the lower vineyard to graft Zinfandel buds onto the year-old rootstock plants that were planted in Spring 2013. The success rate was about 95% and we spent a LOT of time this summer protecting, nurturing, and training the new vines. We anticipate the first (very small) crop of Zinfandel grapes next year, Fall 2015, with a bigger yield in 2016 and beyond. It’s a long, slow road; nothing happens in a hurry in the wine business!











Cheers: As always we’ve been fortunate to be able to enjoy our wine with plenty of our friends and family. We love sharing the love -- and our wines -- with them. Yes, we get by with a little help from our friends. Come on over!
Cheers, L’chaim, and Salute,
Deb and John





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The Amigos arrived in May: Balderdash, Noah, Ferdinand, and Malarkey

KFV News: Harvest Edition                             October 2014

Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Sonoma Valley,
lovingly tended by two people, a flock of Babydoll sheep, free-range hens,

a barn cat, and two Maremma guardian dogs.