We have much to report on the Harvest of 2021! Barbara is nearly ready to put a bow on all the grapes coming in from our vineyard partners. We will sit down together and get a full rundown soon. Meanwhile, we can happily report that all the fruit from Fire Oak Vineyards is now safely in the cellar! This highlight reel gives you a great idea of the family and community spirit it takes to bring off a sustained hand-harvesting effort. Barbara received the harvest from Shelia Busch at Fire Oak, and we could not be more pleased. And as word reached the vineyard of the passing of Shelia’s mother in the night, family and community worked as one. With love in our hearts, the Infinite Sky overhead, and generations of children and grandchildren present, the harvest flowed. And we will do our very best to honor the effort and moments captured here in what is to follow. We applaud and commend the Busch family and their equally awesome vineyard manager, Adrienne Freeman, for the sustained, meticulous work they led.
So many smiling faces in this video! We could not be more delighted with the turnout and the great energy from our members, guests, volunteers and partners on April 10-11. Thank you all for visiting us at the new home for Siboney Cellars, and for putting roots down with us in the Terrace Vineyard Block! For you vineyard lovers, check out the site details and additional photos below.
All the photos you see in this video are available for you to have, with our compliments! To download, please visit this link. When you post your photo, please do tag us on our Facebook and Instagram feeds and let us know you’re sharing #Siboney!
Soil: Well-drained Doss Silty Clay, Brackett Association, and sandstone aggregate to 24″; atop limestone foundation. Significant fossilized seabed treasures across the site.
Acreage under vine: 3.68ac
Merlot 181 ENTAV-INRA on SO4 — East block to Live Oak Mott
French Clone, originated from Bordeaux, certified 1973
Nursery: Wonderful, Kern County, California
Merlot FPS 24.1 on SO4 — Live Oak Mott and West Block
Italian Clone, VCR 101, certified 2002
Nursery: Novavine, Sonoma County, California
Total Planted: 5009 bench graft dormant vines
Vines survived wildfire, pandemic, and ice storms to reach Siboney
Spacing: 8×4, Bodark (Osage Orange) end posts
Orientation: South-North, with prevailing summer winds
Irrigation: Drip – rainwater capture and site well (depth 400′)
Soil and Site Analysis: Fritz Westover
Vineyard consultant: Bill Blackmon
Trellis Installation: Donny Jackson
Vine Planting: Luis Cortes and his team, by hand
Planting Date: April 5-11, 2021
Nearly 150 members and guests put roots down in our vineyard with us over the weekend of April 10 and 11! That just stuns us. We will never forget it, and we are every bit as excited as you to see it come to harvest in the future. Thank you!
We are blessed by our industry friends and project partners, all who share a love for the hill country and for Texas Wine: Legendary Texas Vineyard Grower Bill Blackmon who we hope never regrets asking to develop our vineyards at Siboney; (and thank you Tate, Andy and Evan!); Soil and Site Analyst Fritz Westover, whose joyous reaction to walking the site for the first time reinforced our own hopes and dreams; the vine-planting team led by my friend Luis Cortes, and his camaradas Javier, Sergio and Francisco. Thank you to Wonderfulnursery for supplying the ENTAV Merlot clones. Holding that bundle in my hand must have been like Thor holding Mjolnir! And a very special shout-out to Sam Caselli of Novavine for his initial encouragement, timely and astute assistance and amazing service every step of the way. We also are indebted to Donny Jackson and his installation team; our Architect Kim Thompson of Reliance, and especially to Chad Meyers of Aquadocs and Blaine Langford of JK Bernhard, who pushed the limit on tying our wells together in time to commit the planting dates.
We also thank the expert volunteers who supported us to bring the event to such a success. Thank you Daniel Kelada, Kappy Simpson, Callisto Griffith, and Kourtney Collins. Thank you Chris and Elisa Hensz. Thank you to the Busch Family and Fire Oak Vineyards. Thank you Dee Dahlstrom. Thanks to our caterers, Mike’s Q on Saturday and Vivere on Sunday. We also appreciate the great music from Nathan of Spicy Loops, and the beloved Hill Country duo, Greg and Lisa Trace of Gold. And to Jason Cook, the Mayor of Hye, for loaning us those great tables and chairs from the Hye Hall!
And finally, this must be said: Our partnership with Bill and Mary Anne Waldrip has made every bit of this possible, and in ways we could never dare to hope. No project has extracted more commitment, trust and perseverance than this. We do this for our Members. We do this for Texas. We do this for Love. And we will work hard to make this site a point of pride for all of #TxWine. And it’s only the beginning. MRL
Note: As we write, we are mindful that literally everyone in the world is coming to terms with a new reality in 2020. We are also very proud of the many local heroes in our community who are personally leading their businesses to support the fight against Covid-19. We join them to maintain commitments with other local service businesses under significant economic pressure. We also note the many industry colleagues in other parts of the country and across the wine world who are also taking up the fight – fund raising, volunteerism, and direct support of small businesses and local communities. We pray for health, safety, and rejuvenation in the Hill Country, across Texas, the country and around the world. #AloneTogether.
April 14, 2020: The arrival of another beautiful Hill Country Spring is abundantly clear as we explore the new 52 acre site on US290 – the future home of Siboney Cellars. This is what gives us our hope for the future — the commitment to this land, this site. With each passing month, the a new facet is revealed. Take a video walk around the property with us.
It has been a relatively wet year so far — nearly 11 inches of rain since January, paying down the drought deficits of recent years. The landscape shows the benefits of ample winter and early spring rains. First thing you will see are the diversity of flowers popping up – verbena, day lilies, and assorted wildflowers are dancing across the terraces. The big lower meadow is totally renewed and looks very healthy. And the ag barn adjacent to it is taking form. Trees, shrubs and wildflowers are erupting all around the property! (And for those tracking the peach season it is forecast to be a good one – count us in for that!).
We completed the preparation of the Terrace Block vineyard, and we have learned a bit more about the site — varied soil depths, compositions, formations and slopes across the 4 acre block, and it drains on the long diagonal. And there are wild onions tilled up as we go! With the typical summer wind coming from the top of the bluff at the rear of the property, blowing pretty much straight North, downhill, we are mindful of possible row orientation. Keeping vines healthy and refreshed with the summer breeze is a natural way to deter mold and mildew. And we will start tracking Solar Degree Days. The drone video shows the late day shadows crossing the face of the vineyard as the sun drops behind the terrace. All of this is foundational to a Terroir unto itself.
“Short of having a baby, planting a vineyard is the most optimistic thing you can do in life.”
The first vineyard site at Siboney Cellars is situated on the limestone terrace, at about 1430 feet elevation. Located midway between Johnson City and Hye, this portion of the 52 acre parcel is gently sloping south-to-north (from the back of the property towards US290). We are struck by the depth, quality, and drainage already in evidence. We are ripping the soil to a depth of about 12-18 inches, revealing a loamy, earthy aggregate that sheds water yet retains moisture. Closer to the top of the limestone bluff, as the soil shallows up, we are seeing caliche and chalk-like composites that fracture easily in the hand. It has rained moderately over the past 30 days, and soil probes are reading 10/10 for wetness, yet there is scant evidence of pooling or heaviness in any of the soil.
A significant amount of cedar has been cleared (and the root structures of this scourge show just how ruthlessly efficient cedars are at sucking up water, greedily consuming the overall water table). Part of our process also includes defining the perimeter boundary of this vineyard site, in concert with the placement of roads, access points and vineyard infrastructure. You can see one of the identifying features of this site — a beautiful Mott of live oaks will define a future tasting area with a view of vines all around. We are doing our very best to retain a true sense of the beauty of the Texas Hill Country while creating the very best estate vineyard we possibly can. All of this will take the time it takes, but meanwhile we can’t help but be buoyed in spirit at the prospect of developing this site. Short of having a baby, planting a vineyard is the most optimistic thing you can do in life.
What are we planting? Stay tuned, more to come. Meanwhile, enjoy this short video overview of the site preparation work at the Terrace Vineyard at Siboney Cellars.
Solo – Our Newest Red… – Solo is so good you’ll want it all to yourself. But we won’t blame you if you share!We are excited to introduce our newest Red from the 2017 Vintage. Solo is a single vineyard varietal, from Lahey Vineyards in The High Plains. The grape? Nebbiolo.
Extremely rare in Texas, Nebbiolo is one of the most noble and prestigious grapes in the world. You may know that in the Piedmont, Nebbiolo creates a profound wine, Barolo – extremely long lived, complex and rather rare in the fine wine world. We have only a very few bottles of this Italian Icon in our cellar. But, the way Barolo ages, the color and complexity it shows, the grace it features when served, Barolo is one of the true high points in wine appreciation. Clearly and with profound respect to Pio Cesare, Conterno and all the greats in Piedmont for centuries, it takes much more than Nebbiolo to make great Barolo.
So please do not mistake our humble offering of this noble grape as a precocious attempt to replicate Barolo. I know it goes without saying, but I’d rather you hear that from us directly so there is no mistake!Generally speaking, the grape may not be ideally suited for our challenging growing conditions. Consequently, there are not many vineyards growing Nebbiolo. When we first met Doug and Tom Reed at Hawk’s Shadow, we were surprised and delighted to find they planted a few rows of Nebbiolo in their Estate vineyards in Dripping Springs. Not enough for a separate bottling, Nebbiolo is featured in their flagship Estate blend, HSV.
So when we learned that Lahey Vineyards was working with a young plot, we jumped at the chance to try it and we can say with affection, the result in the glass is certainly encouraging!A unique wine with many special attributes, Solo is a young, early drinking red striking in character. A deep shade of ruby, more Pinot than Cabernet in hue, with pearlescent reflections, elegant in the glass.
On the nose, cherry blossoms, cut strawberries, and Italian herbs. The wine is young, punchy with a savory warmth on the structured, tannic finish. Hold or drink now, but either way, it’s the perfect red for simple roast chicken.Just $32 for the bottle. Give Solo a try. Stop by the tasting room in Dripping Springs. We think you’ll appreciate Nebbiolo as we do!