September 12, 2014

Posted by Jason Saling, Vineyard Manager


This morning we harvested 11.6 tons by 8:30 AM. This is nice. What is even nicer is the fact that we did this while still missing one of our core team members, Rodrigo, who has missed the last two days welcoming a baby girl to his family!


The weather is feeling very autumnal. Leaves are falling and the days are noticeably shorter and cooler. I say that with the exception of the early morning temps, which have been warmer than typical harvest conditions. Typically, I see mid 40’s during harvest, but there has only been one night since we started harvesting that it has not been 56 degrees.

This morning, we grabbed some more of the Rued clone Chard from Block 14 (3 tons) and then moved into block 9A to get the QH Select PN.

The Pinot continues to flow tomorrow with Blocks 10B, 1B, 2 (Sun-Side) and 6E coming off in the early morning.


This weather and the outlook is about as ideal as you would hope during harvest. The extended cooler weather pattern is allowing for some low stress flavor development. We’re very excited about that.


Well, this heat sure didn’t slow anything down.

Today we harvested more Old Wente Chardonnay from Susanna’s this morning, right around 4.4 tons out of Block 6C. We got rolling at 5AM and delivered the last trailer to the winery that morning around 7:30.

Tomorrow, we will keep kept the ball rolling through the Chardonnay with two more blocks, Blocks 9 and 10 from Susanna’s, with a little more than 3 tons from block 9 and ~5ish tons from block 10.


One of my tell-tale signs that harvest is imminent is the annual southern migration of Canadian Geese and the air fills with their honking sounds as long V’s soar past. As I was passing the Fallow Field at Castaneda’s farm on the other side of the Laguna, I looked to my left and noticed what must have been about 200 geese in the field grazing. And then yesterday I did see another five flying in a V formation. Confirmed, harvest is happening. Yes, harvest continues tomorrow. In the wee hours of the morning, we will finish up the rest of Block 11 here at QHV before jumping over to Susanna’s to get the first Susanna’s Chard from blocks 6B and 7. The winery is beginning to fill up fast and soon the aromas of fermentation will begin to fill the air.


Harvest began at Lynmar Estate at 4:00 am today, exactly one year since the beginning of Harvest 2013.

This year started out so fast and yet the last month of foggy mornings held the fruit in check until now. We like to call that Hang Time. We may find the harvest curve to be much more steep and compact than last year, as all blocks appear to be tracking very similarly in ripening.

Picked today: Quail Hill Vineyard Old Wente Blocks 13 and 11B. The crew got rolling at 4AM and were finished just shy of 8 am.

Our 2014 harvest crew is ideally sized with 14 pickers, a tractor operator and a QC individual. This will allow for 4 rows of picking with 3 people per row and two floaters to help with rows that are uneven in length so that the team can exit the rows and make the turn together.

End of day

This morning went well. The crew was all here and ready to roll by 3:45. After donning our reflective vests, headlamps, grabbing a fresh set of harvest shears and loading up the bin trailers, we hit block 13 a couple of minutes before 4AM. Expecting to complete the pick by 8, I was pleasantly surprised to find that we harvested 7 tons by 7AM, better than 2 tons per hour! The crew then went back to work for a few more hours moving forward with their QC pass at Susanna’s to eliminate botrytis and any bird damage ahead of the ripening curve.

The pick continues tomorrow with Block 11A. We will again start at 4 with a target completion time of 7AM tomorrow as to get the estate fruit all in to the winery early as they have a very long day tomorrow with lots of other tonnage starting to hit the deck.

August 21, 2014

Returning once again to the San Francisco Bay, this year’s Advocates Club Appreciation Gala was held at the St. Francis Yacht Club looking out to the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. A festive and memorable evening, we celebrated with wine, food, dancing, and outfits inspired by the 70’s TV show ‘The Love Boat’.

Indeed, the love was shared throughout the event.

July 30, 2014

The Common Black Hawk soaring over Lynmar. Photo by Tom Reynolds.

Earlier this summer, bird watchers gathered at Lynmar Estate to observe an extremely rare sight: a mother Common Black Hawk perched in the trees neighboring Lynmar Estate and the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Over the course of several weeks, both the mother and her offspring lived safely in a nest some 80+ feet off the ground, but they were visible thanks to some birders with powerful camera lenses.

The location of the nest (circled in white) in relation to the rest of the estate.

The offspring was a hybrid from a Common Black Hawk female and a Red Shouldered male.

The offspring residing in the nest: a hybrid between a Common Black Hawk (mother) and a Red Shouldered Hawk (father). Photo by Tom Reynolds.

Footage of the Common Black Hawk and offspring courtesy of Tom Reynolds.

We are always grateful to be in the presence of majestic creatures like these. Whether they are owls, chickens, or other winged animals, their presence is further proof of the special allure of this area.

July 17, 2014

Posted by Patrick Finney, Design and Communication Manager

Photo by George Rose

Last weekend, in front of over 350 wine bloggers, professional writers, wineries, and other industry members, The Lynmar Life was named the “Best Winery Blog” at the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference! It was an honor to be recognized as a finalist among the compelling and well-written winery blogs by Jordan, La Crema, Ridge, and Bonny Doon. All of whom are passionate about telling the story of wine and winemaking. Winning this award is the result of many contributors at Lynmar sharing their talent and time to tell the stories taking place here and of course our beloved friends and advocates who cast their vote last month! We share this award with all of you.

In the whirlwind of winning the award, I cannot overlook how incredible the conference was, thanks to the seamless execution by Allan Wright and his crew at Zephyr Adventures. See below for a visual journey through the conference.

Thank you again to all of those who voted and those who read this very young compilation of people and stories at Lynmar. We love sharing it with you and we look forward to the many more we stories have to publish.

Until next year, #WBC15 #FLX ! Cheers!

July 10, 2014

The 2012 Old Vines Pinot Noir displays a deep garnet color with an exuberant nose. The voluptuous aromatics are focused on Rainier cherry, strawberry, and red apple skin. The mid-palate explodes with elements of raspberry, cola, rhubarb, and baking spices. The firm finish lingers with accents of cranberry, forest floor, and cloves.

The Epitome of the Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir

Shane Finley, Winemaker

The opportunity to work with 40-year-old Pinot Noir vines is extremely rare. The low-yielding and gnarly vines struggle each year to ripen the grapes, but in the end the Pinot Noir that arrives in the winery is impeccable.

Our Old Vines block produces wines of pure red fruit character and grace. As such, we endeavor to use fermentation techniques that highlight these qualities.

Our punch-down regime is usually more delicate during primary fermentation so we do not over-extract the wine. We do not use any whole cluster fermentation because we do not want to interfere with the bright red fruit characteristics. When choosing barrels, we match light and medium toast French oak with the Old Vines to create an integrated and complimentary oak profile. Finally, we age the Old Vines for 15 months to allow the intense core to evolve into its fullest expression.

In the end, the Old Vines cuvée is a testament to the history, as well as the future, of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Age-worthy Vines

Jason Saling, Vineyard Manager

The vines have been converted to Cane pruning from the ancient cordons that were covered in moss and lichen and since so doing have been very happy to produce abundant, fertile, flowering clusters. They have large and expansive root systems that quite evidently fill the entire soil profile. While soil moisture isn’t overly abundant, the vines have little to now competition, except their neighboring vines, for water and soil nutrients. Therefore, we can still dry farm these vines 40 years later.

However, given their age, we thin aggressively and approximately 40% of the fruit is dropped each year to yield an average of 2.5 tons per acre.

In the Beginning…

Lynn Fritz, Proprietor

What is now called the ‘Old Vines Block’ was originally planted in 1974 by Stan Atkinson, the well-known CBS News Anchor who was the prior owner of Quail Hill Ranch. Since he decided to dry farm his vineyard, he used St. George rootstock which is designed for such use and was able to persuade Joseph Swan to give him some of his best Swan Clone bud wood.

The original purchasers of the fruit were Merry Edwards, when she was at Matanzas Creek, and Tony Soter at Étude.

We farmed the vineyard since we purchased the property in 1980, and after 14 years of witnessing the spectacular results that Merry and Tony were able to produce with our fruit, we decided to build Lynmar Winery and have used this block as a key part of our wine program for the past 20 years.

In essence Lynmar Estate began because of this iconic block in our vineyard that now is home to 14 clones of Pinot Noir.