La Vie Dansante is a boutique winery crafting wines of elegance and finesse from locally-grown Rhone varietals such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, and Viognier. We have a second label which we also pour which features our “California Favorites” such as Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our wines are truly hand-crafted – if you find a fingerprint on the bottle it likely belongs to me, the winemaker! We offer wine tasting on Monday, Thursday, and Friday as well as the weekends from noon to 5 pm and other times by appointment.
Come, escape to the country, and join us for a glass of our exceptional, award-winning wines. We’re located just east of the Gilroy Premium Outlet Malls in the foothills of Gilroy, CA.
The question we’re being asked the most this month is “what about the smoke taint, aren’t you worried about all of the fires?” The answer is that all of our estate grapes appear to have escaped the smoke. The reason is that for the smoke to affect the grapes it needs to be fresh. Fresh smoke is “oily” and “wet” and when it sits on the grapes it can penetrate the skins and change the flavors in a bad way. Luckily all of the smoke we’ve seen this year in the vineyard has had to travel quite a few miles to get to us – either from Santa Cruz or Napa – and has dried out and become basically ash which isn’t a threat. The SCU Complex fire that came within a couple miles of the vineyard was downwind the whole time so, although it was scary, didn’t hurt our fruit. It will be several months until the full impact of the fire on California’s grape industry is understood but right now it looks like most of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino have been affected as well as Livermore, parts of Lodi, and all of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Monterey, Carmel, and the Santa Lucia Highlands were hit hard but most of Paso Robles was spared.
Unfortunately this year had more threats than just smoke. For most of the summer we had unseasonably cool weather but three times we suffered through heat spikes. The one in June was fine, we saw it coming and gave the vines some water to help them survive. The spike in late August was a little worse but with extra water the grapes survived well. Then came almost of week of 105°+ heat with heavy smoke in early September – on Labor day it 116° in the vineyards – and the grapes just gave up. The heat led to smaller than average berries that are high in sugar, but low in flavor. Yields are way down and we’ll have to work hard to keep our quality up. That said, “Good winemakers will make good wine regardless of the conditions” so we’ll do our best.
Welcome to fall and the beginning of harvest! Can one of you please tell me where the summer went? Obviously a lot of our ambitious plans for 2020 never came to fruition. We had planned a year full of events and fun but instead moved to a plan called – “just survive until next year”. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here next spring and then we’ll all try the year over again.
One small bonus this year has offered us is plenty of time to catch up on projects and get ready for harvest. We’re expecting our first grapes, Chardonnay, around the 15th of the month and the crushpad is all set up and ready to go. This year we’ll have the place all to ourselves and we’re looking forward to plenty of space to make wine. Harvest is also going to be a little different this year (aren’t they all?) in that we’ll be creating more wines for our LVD Wine Company label including Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and even a little Merlot. Because of the lack of pickers available for Covid we’ll be hosting several picking parties instead of just the one for Carignane. Depending on how it all falls we’ll be looking for help picking all of the estate grapes – probably three mornings – as well as the Carignane. Look for further information via emails beginning next week.
While it would be a huge stretch to say “things are back to normal” around here, we’ve made some progress. The Tasting Room is open and we’re accepting guests for outdoor tasting. No reservation is necessary but you’ll need to leave the pets and kids at home on the weekends and all tasting is by flights served outside. You might want to consider bringing a lawn chair to help with distancing.
Sunday the 2nd we’re bringing music back to the winery with Rod Sphere playing under the oak tree from 1 pm to 4 pm. Later this month we’re planning to bring back our movie nights. Our best guess is the last Friday in August, the 28th at about 8 pm. We’ll announce the movie in a week or so.
We’ve finally received our wine bottle at huge expense all the way from China. It was a full truckload – which we’ve never done before – and should allow us to catch up on bottling, including some of the “special wines like the Mourvedre and Carignane. We’ll be putting 1000 cases of delicious goodness together over the next month, just in time for harvest.
The grapes are looking pretty good. They’re still a little more green than I’d expect at this point in the season but it’s been a cool year (again) so we’re behind by about three weeks. It’s too early to panic so we’ll just bide our time and let nature take it’s course.
We’re running out of things to do around here. There’s still a bunch of bottling that has to happen in the next couple of months but the glass isn’t here yet so that’s on hold. We’re working on the blends for the 2017 wines and labels for the 2017 reds. All of the vineyards are looking great although I think they might be a couple of weeks behind due to the cooler than normal weather. Soon we’ll need to decide if we need to drop fruit to allow the remainder to properly ripen.
The Tasting Room and grounds are ready – except for a deep cleaning – to open on a days notice. We’ve got all of our signs, extra glasses, masks, cleaners, sanitizer – we’re ready to go!
I think the next focus for us is to complete our Marketing Plan for the remainder of the year. Due to the current situation the plan is moving away from wine walks, offsite pouring, and restaurants to an almost 100% digital plan. Lots of trivia, recipes, photos, the new blog – anything to get our name out in front of the public.
As I write this on May 31st Governor Newsom is talking about moving forward into Phase 3 of the re-opening of California and allowing movie theaters to open. That sounds promising except that the state considers wineries to be the same as bars – which they’ve already said will be the last, along with mass sporting events to reopen. Of course we’re sitting in Santa Clara County, one of the two hardest hit parts of the state and therefore likely to be later in opening. We should hear more this week but we’re really hoping to open in some capacity on Saturday, June 13th from noon to 5 pm.
Which means we can have a Wine Club Release “Party” on Saturday June 20th! We have no idea what we mean by “party” because we don’t know what rules we’ll have to be running under. There will – somehow – be food, music, and new wines.
Remember the old joke “Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you like the play?” Well, other than being closed, we’re having a great year. With little else to do, the vineyards are in great shape. We had a little scare this week when we had a windstorm and rain right at the end of flowering but we checked the vineyards this morning and we think we got lucky. The Cabernet might have a little damage but it looks like we dodged a huge bullet.
We’re pretty much all caught up in the winery itself. There’s a bunch of bottling to do but the glass and corks won’t be here for a couple of weeks. Right now we’re struggling to create all of the extra posters and such required to re-open the tasting room – “wash your hands”, “keep your distance”, “do the five”, “stay out if you’re sick” – lots of new art for the walls!
We are now open for both outdoor and indoor tasting’s! Enjoy your flight of wine outside at a shady table with a view of the vineyard, or come inside to learn more about the wine and La Vie Dansante Wines. We require masks and will be enforcing social distancing. No parties of greater than six people.
Stop by and experience the award-winning wines of La Vie Dansante Wines along with our sister brand, LVD Wine Company, in our picturesque vineyard setting every Thursday through Monday from noon to 5pm.
Our “Rustic Chic”, “Country Casual” Tasting Room is located at 3200 Dryden Ave, east of the Premium Outlet Malls on Hwy 101, just north of Gilroy. We have a $10 tasting fee per person for a flight of at five wines which is refunded with the purchase of one bottle.
There are small bites available for purchase in our Tasting Room and a beautiful grassy picnic area in which to enjoy them. We are pet friendly, and child tolerant
Check our Facebook page for last-minute changes and additions.
12/06 – Sunday, Noon to 4 pm – Fall Wine Club Release and Social. Join us for new wines, music, and tasty snacks. No pets, no one under 21, and no outside alcohol.
12/25 to 1/01/21 – Friday to Friday – Closed for the holidays so we can re-group, put 2020 behind us, and start the new year full of excitement and enthusiasm!