Harvest this year @ SJR Vineyard was completed by 9/14. Fermentation went well and we were pressed-off before the end of September. So far, so good! Time for a little reflection…. Our first harvest experiences in the 1980’s captured the “prospects of promise”. A new food and wine culture was emerging in California; and the “boomers” were coming of age. Money was not the driving force behind fine wine brands at that time.
The winemaking and viticulture talent pool was not very deep; experimentation, creativity and education were encouraged. Existing farming and wine making practices were being challenged, and respect for higher quality was being fostered. There was a willingness to work hard together to create wine brands and destinations with global impact. There was a collective DREAM in Northern California… a dream that went much further than individual financial success. I feel a very similar shift happening today in Walla Walla Valley. Allow me to refer to it as WW Valley, Version 3.0. The early pioneer WW Valley Dreamers initiated the WW Valley AVA in 1984. The second important group of WW Valley Dreamers arrived beginning in 2005; expanding the national reputation and the required/supportive infrastructure.
Now, with the advent of, “The most distinctive AVA in the United States… making some of the best wines in America”(Wine Spectator on The Rocks District), our first international producer and new California vineyard/producer investment being felt; we arrive at the next important step forward in this Dreamscape.
Surely, more investment in infrastructure will pay BIG dividends. A new vision for the future, built on WW Valley wine grapes and farming/cellar talent working closely together to raise all boats, will deliver a globally significant wine destination: the promise realized.
Tom Petty was right… it all starts with the DREAM!!