Veteran grape grower Jim Murphy talks about vineyard lifecyles and machine harvesting.
There will be several posts about the recently completed Wine Bloggers Conference out in Santa Rosa, but I thought I'd start with what was one of my favorite parts -- the vineyard walk.
We had several different vineyards we could walk/hike and after deciding to take the easy route and pick one of the flatter, shorter walks, I was harassed by two of my in-shape WBC friends (namely Erika and John) into joining them for the most strenuous one.
In the end, I'm glad that I did... even if I though I kept asking who had the paddles just in case I needed to restart my heart. The Alexander Valley North walk was described as:
"Alexander Valley North: This walk starts at the Geyserville Inn, heads across the Russian River and through vineyards and farmland to the hillside property of Rodney Strong’s Rockaway Vineyard. Participants will be accompanied by long-time grape grower Jim Murphy. This is the longest walk option and is perhaps four miles."
I'm not going to lie... I was pretty winded winded at several points along the hike from 200 feet above sea level to 750, but it was worth it. In addition to hearing from Jim Murphy, we also met and learned from Rodney Strong's director of grape growing Doug McIlroy.
Best of all, perhaps, were the gorgeous views of the Alexander Valley and having the opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers in a casual, fresh-air setting.
We had extra motivation as we headed up the final stretch to the top of Rodney Strong's Rockaway Vineyard... the promise of a hilltop lunch and a taste of their new flagship wine, a cabernet sauvignon blend known simply as Rockaway.
Of course, after sweating and hiking in the hot California sun, we weren't too anxious for that cab. Thankfully, they were pouring both a sauvignon blanc, which was tropical and round with just enough acid, and a chardonnay that simply had too much oak going on for my tastes.
Lunch was delicious and once we had all cooled off in the shade, we were ready to taste the Rockaway. Everyone knows that I'm not a huge fan of big Cali cabs, but this was one that I can appreciate for it's power and intensity.