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Welcome to the Capstone's blog, here is where we will be highlighting events and news from around the winery. 


May Winery and Vineyard Update

Hello Everyone, 


I hope this email finds you all well. This has been a very fast-paced Spring here at the vineyard. Bud break was very uniform between the varietals. Watching the shoot growth after bud break was reminiscent of a horse taking off out of the gate - the vines look like they were taking steroids in the off-season! Certainly, all this wet weather has helped with the development, which is fine this time of year, but we hope the rain starts to go away over the next couple of weeks before bloom. 

Commercial grape vines are hermaphroditic, so they don’t rely on bees or other pollinators to fertilize the fruit. Rather, each berry will push a small cap off with 5 anthers, once that cap falls the fruit is fertilized and we have fruit set. During bloom, which should take place in a couple of weeks, we hope for calm weather with no rain in order to facilitate this process. Once we have the fruit set we will go through and start counting the clusters to get a potential yield estimate for the vineyard.


 So far everything looks quite healthy in the vineyard, but it is still early in the season. The only cause for concern at this stage is the number of Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF) nymphs we are seeing. The nymphs are not harmful to the vine, however, the adults will feed on the vascular system of the vine and if in great enough numbers, they could literally suck the life out of the vine - new plantings are particularly susceptible. This is one reason I held off on planting this year, hoping these little buggers will continue to migrate South. 

In the Spring of 2025, we will start planting more of what we already have and add new acreage of Albariño and Gruner Veltliner. The only other change is ripping out the infernal Muscat Ottonell. So, if you like this style of wine you’re only chance to buy our first and last iteration will be from 2023. 

We finished our first round of bottling from the 2023 vintage: Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Chardonnay, and Muscat. I wish we had a lot more of the wines but the 2023 vintage did not yield large quantities, however, the quality is through the roof. 

We are seeing a lot more traffic through the tasting room and increased sales this year so I had to pull several wines from the tasting menu. Our 2022 C2, 2023 Roussanne, and 2022 Vintners Blend are now club wines and only available by the bottle. Given how busy we have been on the weekends we decided to start opening from Thursday - Monday to help spread out the flow a bit.

As always, thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you soon. 


Theo and crew


Theo Smith
March 14, 2024 | Theo Smith

March Winery and Vineyard Update

I hope this email finds you all well. I am writing to give a brief update on the current state of affairs at Capstone. 

We are busily pruning and tying down canes in the vineyard as the season is “heating up” quickly. Dogwoods, Magnolias and Cherry blossoms are blooming early - vines will follow suit. The dormant buds are protected by a thick outer wall during winter, and as sap begins to flow, they take on a tiny cotton ball appearance and buds start to swell, this is the stage we’re at now. 

Spring is increasingly a pretty stressful time in the vineyard until Mother’s Day when we hope to be out of the frost window. We typically see bud break around the 3rd week of April, although it seems to be occurring earlier each year. Once there is green tissue exposed any temperatures below ~29F would kill that new shoot and any potential fruit. 

We have preventative measures such as wind machines, giant heaters, helicopters, large fires, beef tallow candles (little in row fires), and nutrient sprays but none of these are a sure bet - just acts of desperation by a farmer trying to save the crop.

On a lighter note, we started tasting room renovations this past week. Things are progressing nicely and we’re very excited to be able to show you all the new digs, which will be the weekend of March 22nd. We are hoping to be finished with the renovations but may still be short a couple pieces of furniture. 

I am patiently waiting on our branded corks so I can have a handful of white wines bottled by Spring. We are doing away with capsules on our wines because they are a poor use of resources and serve no real purpose other than aesthetics. However, if you make that move the cork better look damn good. Hence waiting to bottle until the nice cork is in at the end of the month. 

Looking forward to seeing you all and thank you for your patience as we begin to hit our stride. 


Time Posted: Mar 14, 2024 at 8:00 PM Permalink to March Winery and Vineyard Update Permalink
Theo Smith
January 25, 2024 | Theo Smith

January Update

Happy New Year! 

We exceeded our expectations in 2023, thanks in part to you and mother nature. The wines are shaping up beautifully and the vineyards are dormant, waiting to be pruned. This is a fun time of year for winegrowers, as there is a lot of tasting and blending to do. Most of the science in winemaking happens during primary fermentation but the blending trials are where the art form comes into play! We pull samples of the different varietals and cooperages to analyze, very critically, for overall quality of attributes. For the reds this year, I’m going into blending sessions with the goal of making a Merlot dominant Bordeaux blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Bordeaux blend, and a varietal Cabernet Franc. This may be my goal, but ultimately the wines will dictate their percentage of involvement in the blends. We have a lot of really high quality wines to play around with, which makes it more challenging because there are so many different options and directions to go. 

This whole process will take us a couple of weeks of tasting, retasting, trial blending, back to the drawing board, then more blending. It is very important to do these trials with other palates that you respect and have a similar understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish. I usually prefer to taste with 3 to 4 other people. Once the blends have been determined, we will move the wine from barrels into a tank, run some chemistry, and test for microbes. After a few days of letting the wine settle, it will be moved back into barrel for aging until bottling in August. 

White wines are picked and fermented ahead of reds and are not such a complicated matrice as red wine. They tend to show themselves a bit earlier, allowing us to dial those blends in before the new year. I just got our Muscat Ottonel into the charmat tank and it is refermenting away, gaining pressure and bubbles. The charmat tank came in about 2 months late from Italy which has set us back a bit with your first quarter wine club release. Barring any issues the Muscat will be sparkling, in bottle, and released to you by the end of February. 

Following the Muscat, we will bottle our Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and stainless steel Chardonnay. This year the C² will be made sparkling in the charmat method. Our champagne method wines will be Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay - those are years away from being ready but well worth the wait! 

My favorite, and one of the most important tasks in the vineyard, is pruning. The cuts we make now will play a large role in overall vine balance, health, and fruit yield for the coming year. The fruiting buds for 2024 developed in 2023 and given how much sunlight the buds received last year, we’re hoping for healthy yields. 

Pruning requires a high degree of viticultural knowledge, however, hauling all the clippings out of the row middle, to the row ends only requires stamina. So, if any of you have not backed off your new year's fitness resolutions, please reach out to me and I’ll help you keep them going. 

We just got the vines on order for the 2025 planting - Pinot Noir and Gruner Veltliner. These are two of my favorite grapes and no true sparkling house can function without Pinot. 

I’ll close as I always do, by saying thank you for your support. Capstone is truly a dream come true!

Time Posted: Jan 25, 2024 at 7:17 PM Permalink to January Update Permalink
Theo Smith
February 7, 2013 | Theo Smith

September Update

As far as growing seasons go, when the row crop guys look scared, the grape growers are cautiously grinning. We’re about 8.5” of rain behind this year. In fact our 100 yr old cistern at the bottom of the property that was full at the beginning of the season, now has only 2” of water in it. The vines are pretty stressed and are going into survival mode, when they shut down vegetative growth and focus on ripening the fruit. Currently we’re looking at a lighter than normal crop, owing to loose clusters with small berries. Fortunately, these tiny clusters and berries can produce concentrated wines with wonderful depth and longevity.

We could start picking Muscat, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc for sparkling wine by the end of next week! As many of you may have noticed, we don't have our winery built yet, so this year we’re taking all our fruit up the mountain to Fox Meadow and making the wine there.  Hauling all that fruit will be quite a feat, fortunately, I like a good challenge.


Time Posted: Feb 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM Permalink to September Update Permalink
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