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Let’s Talk Grapes

Since I haven’t written a whole lot about grapes yet this year, I figured that might be a good starting point for this blog. As many of you know, the last couple of harvests have been a challenge mainly due to the “out of the norm” weather patterns we have experienced. Last harvest we experienced a late frost in April followed by a mild summer and some early rains. All of which led to our latest harvest ever and some of the smallest yields we have produced. Keep in mind, the quality of the fruit was very high, there just wasn’t a whole lot of it.

This year we seem to be on track for a fairly average harvest, much bigger than last year but not huge. Throughout our different vineyards the clusters are healthy and the quality at this point is looking very good. There is some lingering damage from last year’s frost but overall we are looking to have a good quality harvest in 2012. One factor that has really helped is the warm weather, not the hot weather but warm. So far this summer has been much warmer than the past couple years and the grapes really need the heat to ripen. There was a week of extreme heat that we could have done without but you just gotta roll with the punches!

One vineyard we continue to get more and more excited about is our Whale Rock Vineyard on the West Side just down the road from our tasting room. The fruit is getting better and better each year and the wines produced from this vineyard have been very impressive to date. When I spoke to Niels he seemed to be very pleased about the progress of the Whale Rock Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, which makes me all the more excited for the harvest of 2012.

When you’ve been in the business as long as we have you learn to adapt to the ups and downs and be thankful for what you have when you have it. Being at the whims of Mother Nature can be challenging but then again what fun is life without a good challenge?

Till Next Time,



Little things can make for a great day!

One the best things about working in the wine business, is being able to provide others with a place to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. Over the years we have been fortunate enough to touch many people’s lives and recently while pouring Castoro in the Monterey area I ran into a group of such people and it made my day!

Here I was on a Saturday afternoon pouring wine at a small wine shop called the Bountiful Basket in Carmel when I hear a voice outside say, “Mom, look they’re pouring Castoro in there!” Moments later in comes a group of three ladies, ecstatic to see Castoro being poured behind the bar. Right away one of the ladies points to the youngest one and says, “my daughter here is getting married there in August and we love your wine! We’re actually up here on a little get away to celebrate.” As it turned out they still hadn’t decided which wines to serve at the wedding so I was able to taste them on the wines I was pouring while getting a feel for what wines they might enjoy the most for the big day. It was also great to hear their story and give them mine as well, since we were all from the Paso Robles area.

All in all it was a pretty small interaction but it made me feel great to know they were so excited to be spending one of the most important days of their life with us at Castoro. After tasting them through the wines I sent them on their way with a better feel for which wines suited them best and a little extra excitement for a day they’ll never forget. Sometimes the little things in life can go a long way and their enthusiasm was enough to make me feel very good about what I am doing.

When you take home a bottle wine from a winery, you’re taking home an experience that you can share with friends, family and anyone you choose and that is a very special thing!