Vintage 2021 – A Breath of Fresh Air

two large bins full of zinfandel grapes at the Biale Ranch

They say that pressure makes diamonds. Well, stressful growing conditions makes pretty dang good wine, too.

The 2021 growing season will be known for its intensity, concentrated flavors, structured, age-worthy wines. We saw a 68% year-over-year decrease in rainfall. Remember, we’re mostly an old vine dry farm which relies on natural water tables. So as much as we like to think we can control every variable, you simply can’t beat having water in the ground to start your growing season.

We saw a prolonged harvest season of about 45 days, which allowed us to really lean into our process and get the most out of these wines. We were able to get the timing just right because there were no emergencies or random heat spikes. So, despite the stressful growing conditions, winter’s frost and spring’s reluctance yielded color development and intensity that we can’t wait to share with you. As our winemaker David Natali puts it – “This vintage was a breath of fresh air.” In November 2020, we saw a distinct spike in frost damage among the buds of some of our older vines because of a particularly prolonged cold spell in the Oak Knoll District, which contributed to smaller yields. These structured and well-balanced tannins ensure that these wines will be age worthy.

When I used to work in the vineyard with my dad and Aldo, usually pruning, leafing, watering the old vines by hand, learning to drive the old Kubota tractor, I didn’t fully appreciate what the Biale team had accomplished. I just remember overheating and counting down the minutes until our taco-truck-lunchbreak. Now, all these years and miles later, I can’t help but be humbled by the elegance and enduring tenacity of every single person and vine on the Biale team. Watching my dad weather the cold winters and unforgiving summers has taught me a lot about the value of humbly trusting in your process.

The 2021 vintage is kind of like how most of us would describe Bob: intense and age-worthy. We hope you enjoy it.