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Posts Tagged ‘leoness winery’

Vine Talk: Verasion

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

 

Pinot Grigio 7_14

Leoness Cellars Pinot Grigio; July 3, 2014

Vine Talk:  Verasion

“I’ve never seen anything like it!”, says Mike Rennie, owner of Leoness Cellars and a long-time grower and vineyard manager here in the valley.  “Harvest is going to be the earliest I’ve ever seen!  We’re already seeing verasion in all of our white grape varietals – and in some of our red varietals. The sugar level in our Pinot Grigio this morning was 18%.  It’ll probably reach the 22% we look for and be ready for harvesting by mid to late July.  It’s just incredible!”

In vineyard speak, verasion is a term used to describe the changing of color in a grape cluster.  All grapes are green up this point, but as the ripening process evolves, the clusters will begin the process of turning into those recognizable hues of golds, pinks, reds and purples. The grapes at this stage are sour and immature, but during the next few weeks as the fruit matures, astringent malic acids turn into soft tartaric acids and the sugar levels begin to rise rapidly.

There’s lot of action in the vineyard during this time.  The leaf canopies are constantly being pruned to allow just the right amount of sunlight and air to circulate though the vines.  Clusters that are not ripening evenly will be dropped to allow those that are to uniformly mature.  Unlike table grapes, small berry clusters are what we’re looking for as they have a better skin to fruit ratio that ensures enhanced concentrations of flavor and structure.  And that’s a very important aspect for making quality wines!  We’ll be praying for warm and dry weather – at least through the harvest season – to allow for the long, slow ripening process that our winemakers love.

What actually triggers verasion remains a mystery, but we can be sure that Mother Nature holds all the cards!

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Big Dreamers: Mike Rennie & Gary Winder, Leoness Cellars

Monday, April 28th, 2014

In the third installment of our new blog series “Big Dreamers,” we interview veteran wine experts and longtime partners Mike Rennie and Gary Winder, owners of Leoness Cellars on De Portola Road in Temecula Valley. When Mike and Gary founded their winery in 2003, they chose the name Leoness Cellars, which means “village of dreams” in Gaelic.

Farming citrus and avocados in the region as far back as the 1970’s, Gary teamed with up with fellow farmer and friend Mike to begin their viticulture journey in 1990.  They opened the first version of the tasting room in 2003 and the upgraded edition in 2006.  Now one of the most beloved and picturesque wineries in Temecula Valley, Leoness focuses on top quality wines, sustainable practices in the vineyards and first-class service in their tasting room and restaurant.

Photo Credit: Touring & Tasting

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker Mike Rennie, Leoness Cellars

1.  What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

Gary Winder and I have been farming in Temecula for many years. We farm not only wine grapes but citrus and avocados. This harvest will be Gary’s 64th.

2.  What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

Most wineries come from farming families. We truly wanted to taste the fruits of our labors so Leoness came about. And we wanted the world to know that Temecula Valley and the South Coastal region are as good as anywhere in the world to farm premium wine grapes.

 

3.  What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?

We didn’t have too many allusions of grandeur. As hard working farmers and having been around the industry for decades we knew the back side, so to speak. It all adds up to hard work, quality control and a lot of sweat.

 

4.  People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

There is a glamour side to wine. There is the romance that goes along with fine wine, great food and times with those you love. We love sharing these things with friends and wine club members. It still comes down to working in the dirt and hot sun, and attention to detail to grow the finest premium wine grapes. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

 

5.  What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

My least favorite thing is when things don’t go right in our customer service area. We know there is no perfection, but that is what we attain to. When for some reason we miss the mark, it’s disappointing. What makes us the happiest is when we can share the perfect wine experience with our guests.

 

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

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http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

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