Camalie Vineyards Wine Coop 2014 -- The EarthQuake Vintage

Wine Deliverable

The Earthquake Vintage is going to be a good one. With a warmer than normal spring again like 2013 and basically no rain in January the fruit is ripening early and tasting better than ever. We are 4 miles from the epicenter of the West Napa earthquake and saw some significant breakage and numerous new cracks but no structural damage of significance. My Grape Grower's Blog has more details and some photos. The block we are going to take the cab from this year had its soil shattered with inch and a half cracks everywhere. One crack opened so wide the 1 1/2" irrigation submain line was pulled apart. There is no doubt that this fracturing of the soil is having an effect on the vines' root systems. What exactly that effect is is not known but, we often rip the soils to break up compaction and make it easier for the roots to proliferate. Mother Nature has helped us out this year.

We have the first good crop of Carmenere from the replanted block and the fruit is tasting great. It yielded 17 gallons of must We also have 3.5 gallons of Chardonnay and 7 gallons of Pinot Noir from Crouse Vineyards. The fermentations are almost done. We have two distinct Cab Lots picked a week apart with much different Brix levels, first (120 gal.)was 26 Brix and the latter came in at 28.5 Brix. The latter lot (105 gal.) was watered back 9% to bring the alcohol content down. It should make for an interesting comparison.

The plan is to make approximately 3 barrels of wine, ~72 cases, with the following percentages for each source/varietal.

90% Camalie Cabernet Sauvignon

5% Camalie Carmenere

3% Pinot Noir

1.5% Chardonnay

You can monitor the progress of the grapes via my Grape Grower's Blog. The 2014 Harvest Party which all members are invited to is scheduled for 10/4/14. Pressing party is tentatively scheduled for 11/1/14.


The co-op buys grapes from Camalie Vineyards at $2.75/lb for Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Malbec.   Approximately 3 lbs. of grapes are required per bottle which translates to about $8.25/bottle for grapes. Total grape tonnage for 3.5 barrels is about 1.75 tons or 3500 lbs.

Camalie Vineyards provides winemaking facilities and consumables including equipment to harvest the grapes, crush, press, barrels, 2-yr. barrel age in cave, chemical analysis, consulting, additions, pumps for racking and bottling.  Bottles, corks and capsules are also provided.  Co-op members are responsible for providing the labor to make their wine except for analysis and additions.

The minimum size share is 4.1%, approximately 122 lbs. of grapes, which results in about 3.3 cases of wine at a cost of about $21/bottle ($853). A double share, 8.3%, costs 20% less/bottle, about $17/bottle ($1365 for 6 cases). Prices have gone up 10% to cover the earthquake damage, inflation and to make the wine coop sustainable.

Each member gets their proportionate share of each of the barrels/carboys made at bottling. Share percentages will be determined at crush when the total grape tonnage is known. If participation is high we will increase the volume crushed and further discount larger volumes.

The Camalie Vineyards Wine Co-op is a small informal cooperative for the purpose of making very fine Mount Veeder/Napa Valley wine and having a lot of fun in the process.   We believe that getting involved in the making of the wine provides a more intimate relationship with the wine and a much stronger appreciation of it when we finally open a bottle of our own making and drink it.  

This year is the 12th year of the Co-op which has now produced over 1000 cases of wine total. Check out my Winemaker's reports from 2013, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2005N 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 including blind tasting results.    

Labor involved includes picking grapes, crush, culling, bucketing must to tanks, disposing of stems, cleaning tanks and equipment.  Punch down, and specific gravity measurements which will be done once each day for roughly ten days. Bucketing must to the press, pressing, bucketing wine back to tanks, removing pomace, carrying to big bin, preparing barrels, moving barrels into place, pumping wine to barrels, tasting, topping, filling, corking, capsuling, filler cleaning, setup/teardown, carrying out cases of wine. 

If the wine goes bad due to a microbial contamination that is not due to a clear breach of hygiene standards then participants take the risk.   Also if the wine just doesn't taste good for some reason the participants take the risk.  Sulfide problems included.  

Participation in the wine coop includes invitations to the events associated with the winemaking many of which don't involve work such as the barrel mix tasting party which is great fun. See Winemaking 2007, 2008, 2009 and .  There are other events such as barrel tastings to monitor and top the wine which you will have an opportunity to participate in. 

Participation is by invitation only.  If you are reading this you are already in a rarified class of wine connoisseurs   Hope you decide to join!  

To join call my  cell, or text me at    650-799-6571  or send me e-mail at

Wine Co-op Membership and payments as of 10/22/14:

Adrienne 4.15% paid $853 ~12/14/14

Mikael and Diane 8.3% $1365 paid 10/4/14

Jonas and Jennifer 8.3% $1365 paid 10/17/14

Jaime and Pat 8.3% $1365 paid 10/18/14

Michael and Margie, 4.15% $853 paid 10/4/14

David and Anni, 8.3% $1365 paid 1/24/15

Karen Crouse, 70 lbs. Pinot Noir, 35 lbs. Chardonnay

Mark and Cindy, The rest, 1.1 tons Cabernet Sauvignon, 170 lbs. Carmenere,

See my winemaker's report for 2014 for the latest results.

Wine Maker's Report

Note: case estimates are approximate because they depend on pressing and racking yields. Estimates are based on prior year's results.   

Winemaker, Mark Holler

A typical event calendar for the coop looks like this.  

  Activities for the day include picking grapes starting early, running the grapes through the crusher destemmer culling MOG before and after, bucketing must into the 6 tanks.     Party in the afternoon, wine tasting.  This is a large event with many friends invited including WineCoop members friends.   Target 30-50 people participating to make the work go quickly.  Co-op members get first priority for sleepover accomodations. Cabernet Sauvignon Harvest and Crush Day  ~Oct. 15. Start Fermentation and for the next 10 days punchdown the must twice a day and monitor specific gravity.  Some additions of yeast nutrients.      November 15 th Pressing Then the malo-lactic fermentation will be initiated.  December 10th  The Barrel Mix Tasting:  This tasting is to evaluate  the new crop of wines from the seven vats. This will help us determine which wines to place in which barrels. January 12 th Rack to Barrels: The wine will be transferred from the stainless steel tanks to oak barrels that are stored in the cave.   January to July   Various dates, Barrel topping and tasting for progress, approximately bimonthly. Blending. The   July  rack from barrel to barrel.  2nd July after crush  first   Bottling.  2nd Nov after crush  second and final bottling

    Tasting Terrace

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Last updated 10/22/14 M.H.