Owner / Farmer Steven Whiteside tastes a 2002 Bella Vida O'Donnell Pinot Noir from our Bella Vida Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. 2002 was Bella Vida's second vintage. Brian O'Donnell was the first winemaker to sign on to get grapes from Bella Vida vineyard and make a Bella Vida bottling under the Bella Vida label.
1 Dundee Hills Vineyard
7 Winemakers Buying Grapes from Bella Vida Vineyard
4 Winemakers Making Limited Bottlings for Bella Vida
Come on out and see for yourself. Bella Vida's Tasting Room is Open Thurs to Sun, 11 AM to 5 PM.
Mon, Tues, & Wed by appointment , (503) 538-9821
Here we are in the first two months of the growing season. The first plant growth event of the vintage is “bud break”. This is when the leaf tissue first appears on the plant as a result of increased soil temperatures (52º) and daily sunlight.
Bella Vida Vineyard
Vintage Bud Break
2017 April 21
2016 April 6
2015 March 30
Given the cooler Spring temperatures we are approximately 30 days behind the warmer 2015 and 2016 vintages. Perhaps maybe a gift at this point given the benefits of cooler climate on
the quality of Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.
In order to ensure wine quality it is critical that the plant is prepped for the next two growing events, bloom and berry set.
This is accomplished by removing all unnecessary consumers of nutrients and plant growth that directly shades the grape clusters. As you can see in Fig 1, the plant is covered in excessive growth from the base of the trunk and throughout the entire plant. In Fig. 2 , all unnecessary growth is removed from the plant to improve plant vitality and airflow. Hence the spring “hair cut”.
Anyone who lives on the West Coast knows that we had a dry, warm winter and now we are into an ever changing Spring. That being said, all is well in the vineyard and the May rains we’ve had recently are adding to the ground moisture that we’ll need during this growing season.
Bud break occurred early this year at Bella Vida beginning the last week in March. Currently we have thinned the fruiting cane by removing the secondary bud, suckered the trunk and are getting ready to raise the first catch wire to control the upward direction of shoot growth. We are anticipating bloom in the next 4 weeks. Not sure what Mother Nature has in mind regarding the weather but if the weather continues to stay warm we will have an early harvest. But, we don’t talk about how we would like it too much. Wouldn’t want to jinx anything would we?
If you were to visit and walk the rows right now you will find lush wild grasses, flowers and chives (perfect for salads) which helps with bio-diversity (see the photos above). Such natural cover brings in beneficial insects and needs to be managed in order to control nutrients and water available to the vines. We do this by alternating our mowing and cultivation specific to each row. Tedious but it really pays off when it comes to vineyard balance and fruit quality. You would also see plant rows painted white with lime added to improve PH to assist the microbial activity and increase the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Next up will be daily management through bloom, veraison and then on to harvest. There is never a shortage of work to do in the vineyard and the next time you visit you’ll probably find me on the tractor or walking the rows. Be sure to wave hello.
Well we have everything wrapped up for the 2014 vintage. Things kicked off at Bella Vida with bud break on the 15th of April. Weather was interesting with fluctuations between warm, hot and cool. The plants weren't bothered a bit by this "mother nature" roller coaster. Bloom came on June 17th and progressed with some rain to hold the fruit set down. As fruit set and berry development came in the first part of July we were looking at literally tons of fruit. Veraison came early this year on August 3rd. Took a little time for everything to color up but by September 17th we were picking the first pinot. We were all finished with the reds by October 3rd. Riesling came off October 10th.
For the 2014 vinetage:
Dark fruit flavors
This is going to be one great vintage for Pinot Noir lovers.
Cheers to mother nature
Steven and Allison