October is Merlot month and we thought this would be a perfect time to revisit some of the reasons why Merlot is one of Still Waters’ most beloved varietal. Hailing from the Bordeaux region of France, it is one of the region’s (and the world’s) more widely planted grape. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the old French word merle for the black birds that liked to eat the juicy grapes from the vine. Known for ripening early, having soft tannins and lush fruit flavors, Merlot is tremendously popular both as a standalone or blended with other Bordeaux grapes- most notably Cabernet Sauvignon.
When Paul and Pat bought the ranch, they came into possession of established Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines. Over the years, Paul has grafted on more varietals, but the Merlot has and will always be a mainstay here. Paul even lovingly refers to it as his “Cab-Merlot” because of the character and structure that our estate grown Merlot displays. We have bottled a Merlot standalone each year since 2004 and we have a Merlot-based blend called Clone 3 Cuvee that is one of our best sellers.
We find that Merlot is one of the most approachable and affordable red wines on the market. With flavors of spicy red plum, black cherry, cocoa, and anise tempered with delicate tannins and medium acid, our Merlot lends itself to a variety of pairings or is excellent enjoyed on its own. We love to pair our Merlot with a classic roast chicken, meatloaf, Thanksgiving dinner, or a dark chocolate cake.
Here at Still Waters we take pride in what we do. Founder Paul Hoover has created an oasis away from the bustle, a secret garden amongst the backroads. He has infused this place with love, devotion, and pride. From the vineyards to the winemaking, he loves what he does, and he loves to share this special place with others. So, we’ve decided to take it to the next level and create an ultimate Still Waters Experience that will leave you educated and entertained! Take a guided tour in our comfortable six-seater golf cart and let one our knowledgeable staff drive you around our 65 acres. View the entirety of the El Pomar District from our hilltop and ride around the lush vines. Your guide will share tidbits of knowledge spanning from cover crops, history of the property, grape varieties, SIP certification, and more. After, you will be treated to a wine tasting along with our estate olive oil. Book your tour today and experience a delightful, educational experience.
It’s mid-April and we want to share how special the vineyard is this time of year. From baby green leaves poking out from the vines to a new rooster ruling the hen house, Spring has sprung on the vineyard. The days are getting warmer and guests are basking in the sunlight while they taste. After a wet winter, the gardens are flourishing.
This month you can see tulips, irises, wild flowers, and the first roses are blooming. Our vegetable garden has been planted and as you’ll see in the photos below, we are trying some new things to ensure a hearty crop! Paul is determined, after all these years, to outsmart the hungry birds and save our tomatoes. Upon suggestion from our guys, he created a netted defense for the delicate tomato plants to have a chance at success. Although one could argue that with Johnny Cats prowling the gardens, the smarter birds might look for a tasty snack in another garden.
David and his crew have been bottling for the last month. All the 2018 whites are bottled and there are some surprises to be released this Summer! We are also excited at the prospects of some of our favorite wines being ready for the Fall wine club shipment. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and more are all slated to be bottled this Spring. There is much to look forward to and we hope you find the time to join us!
Another year, another round of our favorite Still Waters event, Roll Out the Barrels! This year, we had over 200 wine club members and their guests gather in the barrel room and taste over 30 barrels of wine! Our guests tasted through barrels of 2016 Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Primitivo, Syrah, and Zinfandel. We also threw in some 2018 Viognier, for good measure! It was so much fun having our extended Still Waters family under one roof to enjoy this unique event.
2016 saw us starting to emerge from the drought years. While we didn’t get as much rain as we had hoped, we came away with about 6 inches for our growing year (at the height of the drought, we had 4 inches of rain total). Growing conditions were varied and that was a big influence of the flavor profiles in the 2016 vintage. In the last half of September, most days were in the 90’s to well over 100 degrees. That means earlier varieties like Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, and Primitivo were ready well before their usual October pick days. We picked at various intervals throughout the month with fluctuating temperatures and conditions, producing distinctive and tasty flavors. Throughout October, the temperatures were cooler than normal, which meant our later harvest varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc enjoyed a longer hang time. This developed a more fruit forward composition of flavors versus previous years.
In short, 2016 marked an improvement in the amount of rain we had and general growing conditions. We look forward to a great vintage with diverse, delicious flavors and we hope you love them as much as we do!
Click on the link below to check out the winning barrels! Did your favorites make the cut?
Here at Still Waters, we are committed to maintaining our vineyard in the most sustainable, healthy way possible. We are proudly SIP certified- the wine/vineyard industry standard for sustainability. What this means is implementation of a variety of best practices in the vineyard to ensure our stewardship extends to our physical environment, not just making delicious wines. That includes an intimate knowledge of the vineyard cycle and implementing those best practices
One way we do this is planting cover crops. January is the perfect time to explore this practice and see vivid examples in our own vineyard. Soil is (obviously) a crucial component of the growing process. In order for the vines to grow, the soil needs to be healthy, well tended, and ultimately protected from the elements. A cover crop is an important technique used for soil protection and promoting healthy grapes for the future. We utilize a cover crop for a variety of reasons, but we are particularly interested in erosion control, gopher deterrents, we growth prevention, and increased water infiltration. A healthy cover crop allows our tractors to be able to access the vineyard, thanks to the added organic material strengthening the soil (the alternative is a muddy morass that will have you up to your ankles in mud come a rain storm!).
We utilize several different types of cover crops, however this year, Paul has chosen barley. Barley is planted in every other row, in alternating years. This helps encourage natural grass growth in the “off” years and all around, increases the vigor of the vineyard. Once the barley is about 2 feet high, we will mow and mulch is down into the row, to continue on the cycle. This is just one way that we implement SIP certified practices to minimize our environmental impact and maximize our vineyard health for delicious wine production!
This time of year can be pretty stressful and busy, but Still Waters Vineyards has the perfect last minute gift ideas! Watch the videos attached for some tips. Stop in the tasting room today to pick out your favorite gifts and enjoy a nice glass of wine too. Cheers to you all!
Happy Holidays! Christmas is just around the corner, can you believe it?? Below are a few Still Waters Vineyards gift ideas along with the retail price. Join the club for discounts on wine, olive oil, and logo items. Free to sign up!
Gifts $30 or Less
- Balsamic Vinegar and Bottle Pourer – $18.38
- Cork Cage and Soap – $23.54
- Olive Oil and Bottle Pourer -$24.38
- Succulent and Bottle of Wine – $27.89
- Olive Oil and Olives – $27.99
- Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar – $30.00
Gifts $50 or Less
- Champagne and Bottle Stopper – $35.66
- Hat and Tshirt – $38.61
- Fisherman Red Blend and Cuvee Blanc – Starting at $47.19
Gifts $100 or Less
- Olive Oil, Frog Balls, and Picnic Blanket -$53.73
- Bottle of wine and Zip-Up Sweatshirt – $66.50
- Hat and Vest – $79.37
Gifts $200 or Less
- Mix and Match Case – Starting at $128.71
- Vest and 2 Bottles of Barrel Select Cabernet – $180.18
October was a busy month but we loved every minute of it! Thank you to all who came out to the tasting room and helped to make this month’s events so fun!
We started with this month’s First Friday where we released our Grenache and paired it with dark chocolate, cheese and crackers. What a delight.
Next, we had our Fall Pickup Party, what a turn out! We had live music, small appetizers, and plenty of wine. There was delicious wine, beautiful weather, and even amazing company. We are looking forward to the next party!
We We finished our summer concert series with a new favorite band and can’t wait to plan the 2019 season! Harvest Festival rounded out the busy month with our first annual movie night, Harvest Olympics, and more awesome live music. Now that October is coming to a close, we are looking forward to November and all that it has in store. Come out and enjoy wines, olive oil, and views. While you’re at it, bring a picnic and stay awhile!
Still Waters Vineyards has begun harvest and we couldn’t be more excited! So far, we have picked Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Syrah Rose, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Paul says this could be one of the best years of harvest for the white varieties. This year has been a great harvest so far but also a great adventure because we have added a new machine to help us in the picking process, The Pellenc. Watch the video here!
This is a thrill, but also an adjustment. We are loving every minute of this process and learning about the new machine. The Pellenc allows us to pick faster and give us more time to tend to the grapes after the picking has taken place. As we move along through the next couple of months, we will start picking the red varieties, finishing with Cabernet Franc in the middle of November.
During this harvest season, we always look forward to the Harvest Festival, October 19-21. This year we will have a movie night on Friday @7pm. Come enjoy “The Three Amigos” on the big screen, a glass of wine, and a bbq dinner. On Saturday we will have our 3rd Annual Wine Olympics event which includes a grape stomp, a barrel roll, wine trivia, and some soft accoustic music. This will be from 12pm-3pm. Come earlier and stay longer for some extended Still Waters fun. On Sunday we will have live music by Julie Beaver and The Rockin’ B’s from 1pm-4pm. We will have some small bites offered, but feel free to bring food for a picnic. Come enjoy the grounds all weekend!
A few photos from the first weekend of April! Not only was it Wine 4 Paws weekend, but our first Picture Perfect Sunday concert of the season! Our guests (2 legged and 4 legged) spent the afternoon in the sunshine listening to local favorite Ricky Montijo. If you missed our first concert, don’t worry! You have 6 more opportunities this season. Definitely don’t miss out of Mother’s Day (May 13th) with Louie Ortega!
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