On the Grape Trail Our August 2007 Issue

In this issue:

2007 New...
2007 Harvest
2007 Grapes & Juices
2007 Seminars
2007 Forgot?


This feature of  our website will present news and views on the world of wine by our Grape and Wine Consultant Mac MacDonald.  Along with information on viticulture in California's wine growing regions, this is our first newsletter this year with specific information on the 2007 Harvest offerings available at PrestonWine.ca and at our retail store as well as other items of interest to our wine-making community.

This issue has been sent in hard-copy to a number of our community who, in the past, received the newsletter as the only means of communications. From now on, our newsletters will be primarily available online and only a few colleagues not yet using the Internet will receive a copy in the mail. So, please read on...



This year, we have a new website and we plan to keep it active with almost daily changes during the Harvest 2007 period.  Our website guy, Bob Russell, is long time customer who, along with his wife has retired to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Even when sailing, sometimes even in the fog, Bob keeps the site current through daily contact with us at Preston.

The grape business in California is full of new opportunities for home winemakers to access grapes and juices that were previously unavailable.  We obviously have to limit our order forms to what we feel are the best deals considering both quality and price.  The chances are that some other grapes could be offered to us on a 'one-time' basis so the website will become our primary information source under these circumstances, so check back often to see what is available.  With our strong relationship with Peter Brehm, the development of the Brehm Vineyards frozen grapes and juices will also evolve over the next month or two and we will have more wine and grapes news to share with you.



Irrigation, new muscats, Triboro FruitThis has been a beautiful weather year thus far in California.  The lack of rain has reduced the size of berries and varieties such as Cabernet and Merlot should show well this year.  Lack of spring rains has reduced disease pressure so bunches are clean.  The harvest will be early this vintage and may come all at once.  The end of August is showing hot temperatures in regions away from the coast.  The short term forecast is for dry and sunny conditions.

See additional information on California in our PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER.



Because of the early grape season, there will not be much time to order some fresh grapes and juices this year.   The timing and feasibility of white varieties to be shipped is also in question. 

To help all customers who may have questions, we have set aside two days at our retail desk at Preston Hardware to help winemakers finalize their information and orders.  On Thursday, September 6 from 12 noon to 7:00 pm and on Friday, September 7 from 12 noon to 7:30 pm, Mac MacDonald will be on hand to answer any questions and offer up to date information, especially on white wine varieties. [Rumor has it that samples of previous years will be available!!!]  If you can’t make it to the store, please call us, since the order deadline for many grapes is the close-of-business, Friday, September 7th, 2007.

California Central Valley

The packing houses of Classico, Triboro Fruit Company and Delta Packing will have many varieties available starting Tuesday, September 4th. 2007.  The companies supply grapes at affordable prices and there will be a complete roster of available grapesMosti Mondiale will again supply juice beginning mid-September.

Premium Fresh Grapes and Juices

Century old vine Zinfandel LodiThere are a number of new areas that we are sourcing for fresh grapes and juices this harvest.  Amador County, Mendocino and Paso Robles are three proven quality growing areas.  The Lodi appellation has now been split into 7 American Viticulture Area (AVA) including Clement Hills.  Clement Hills is significant because it is the home of the Clement Hills Red Dirt Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel.  Mac MacDonald was at the vineyard in late June with Ann Sturges and Julio Mastro of Triboro Fruit Company when the deal was closed for them to contract the grapes.

Vino Con Brio is a small quality-oriented winery just a few miles from Delta Packing.  They have made an award winning name for themselves with excellent and diverse wines.  You can find out more about these new sources at www.vinoconbrio.comm and www.appellationamerica.com

Homewine Brand Juices

We have three new juices this year from Homewine Brand based in Lodi California.  These juices, given their origin, are at a very good price.  Orders have to be finalized by September 14, 2007.

Brehm Vineyards

Our top of the line world class frozen grape musts and juices come from Peter Brehm.  These are slated to arrive the first week of January 2008; check out the order form for more details.

Fermentation  Room - Peter Brehm, John CaldwellIf there ever was a year to make a “cult” high end Cabernet this would be it.  The Caldwell Vineyards Cabernet sells for $240 a pail but John Caldwell also sells to a cadre of high-end Cabernet producers.   John charges $150 a bottle for his Cabernet. You can hear more from John by visiting his web site at www.caldwellvineyard.com.

We have made it and find it to be tremendous. - very silky with rounded tannins, it drinks like a great Pinot Noir.  Mac MacDonald was at the vineyard and winery in June tasting barrel samples with Peter Brehm, and we will be making this Cabernet again.

If your budget doesn’t allow for such expenditure, the Russian River Cabernet, at $125 a pail, is under-priced given the vineyard location and contract prices in the area.  The Russian River Cabernet would pair well with another of our 'best-buys', the Carneros Merlot.  We also have a small select quantity of Brehm Vineyards inventory grapes available from last year however they have been selling well so don't wait if you want to order.


Mac MacDonald will again run winemaking sessions this fall.  Each session will cost $35 which includes a $15 credit for grape or juice purchases.  Please register at the sales desk prior to the seminar dates.

Saturday, September 29, 2007  2-4 pm:  For experienced winemakers:  Sulphite, yeast and nutrient management. 

Saturday, October 6, 2007  2-4 pm:  For beginning winemakers:
Basic winemaking with fermentations in progress.


Of course, Preston Hardware has a full range of wine equipment and supplies including specialized yeasts and malolactic culture.

This year, we will also have new and reconditioned French Oak Barrels available - please ask for more information at the Sales Desk. 

Come and see us, email or phone with your winemaking questions anytime during our business hours.


As we learn more about the value that our web site has for you, our friends and fellow wine makers, we will be able to tailor it more to your needs and incorporate your suggestions. We are always interested in hearing what you think... so please let us know.

Mac MacDonald, Ottawa, 30 August 2007


prestonwine.ca logoHOME

mac down under       

Copyright © PrestonWine.ca and Mac MacDonald 2007 All rights Reserved