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. Our wines are truly hand-crafted – if you find a fingerprint on the bottle it likely belongs to the winemaker! We offer wine tasting on Monday, Thursday, and Friday as well as the weekends as part of Blended, a Winemaker’s Studio located just east of the Gilroy Premium Outlets. Come, escape to the country, and join us for a glass of our exceptional, award winning wines.
This has been a really strange harvest season.
First it started late, and now I’ve been having trouble getting all of the fruit I was promised. I had two sources of Roussanne setup up for this season, each was supposed to provide one ton of grapes. The first source called on the day they picked to tell me there wasn’t enough to fill our order… would we care for some Marsanne instead? Marsanne is a terrific grape but without it’s blending partner, Roussanne, it’s not very useful. I said “yes” anyway because we need something for the 2018 Aubade, even though it’s not my first (or even second) choice. It didn’t matter since a couple of hours later I got a call saying “not enough Marsanne either”. Well, now what? Luckily my second source didn’t cancel on me and we have enough Roussanne for the blend, just not enough for a 2018 Roussanne single varietal.
The cool summer has also led to low brix, or sugar, numbers on some of the other fruit. The Mourvedre ended at 20 brix when we needed at least 23 brix for a stand-alone wine. At 20 brix you get about an 11% alcohol wine – luckily we need it mostly for the 2018 Serenade, a GSM blend, where it’s job is to brighten up the Syrah and Grenache. Following a trend, the Grenache blanc is looking like it will end at 22 brix, also a little light for the stand-alone wine. I saw this coming and the other wines that blend with it for the 2018 Aubade are a little bigger than I would normally like. Put them together with the light Grenache blanc and we should have perfection.
So, are there any bright spots to this harvest? Yes! The fruit this year is beautiful, acids are still there, and pH’s are lower than usual. This is perfect for the kind of wines we all enjoy. Also, the ancient vines Carignane is looking perfect. We’ll definitely have a single variety 2018 Carignane in our future. In the end, it’s all farming. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but mostly it all works out. One thing about winemaking, it’s never boring!
Harvest finally began! Normally we’d be busy from the first week of September on but this year we didn’t get our first grapes until near the end of the month. In fact it got so bad we needed to slide our “hands-on” Boutique Winemaking class into October because we had no fruit to put in our hands. That’s all changed now and we’re busy fermenting the 2018 Grenache and Syrah. Viognier is already done and in the tank and we’re anxiously awaiting the next load of grapes. The climate is a little strange this year but we hope to still bring in Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Carignane, and Mourvedre. There’ll probably also be a little Cabernet Sauvignon in the near future so we can continue to make our popular “Stage Right”.
We have one more class on the 2018 schedule, Candlemaking, which we’ll hold on the night of Thursday, October 18th. The cost is $45 and tickets are available at our online wine shop or in the Tasting Room. In this class you’ll learn how to make professional, long lasting candles from a selection of seasonal and holiday scents. Come enjoy the class and take home a candle for yourself or as a present for a friend.
Being open on weekdays has turned out to be our favorite part of the week. We offer a different, La Vie Dansante Wines-centric tasting list. The smaller weekday crowds give us time for one-on-one conversations about wine, wine making and grapes or whatever catches your fancy. Come join us for a wine tasting in a relaxed vineyard atmosphere.
Whelp, it’s September and here we sit waiting for grapes. Normally by now this place is a beehive of activity. Fruit, starting with Viognier, begins landing during the first week of September and then really gets going with the Grenache and Syrah two weeks later. Unfortunately this has been a really cool summer – yes, I know there were our normal unbearably hot days in July and August, but overall we had quite a bit fewer of what we call “degree days”. Grapes ripen in two ways; first, sunlight brings flavor, and second, heat brings sugars. We’ve had great sunlight so we’re confident we’ll have exceptional flavors the year, the problem is the lack of heat. Grapes will ripen about 1% of sugar for every week that averages over 85 degrees. We want to harvest at about 24% sugar and we’re currently sitting at about 20%. That means we need about four more weeks of good heat, and we’re just not getting it this year. Don’t panic though. It’s farming and everything could change tomorrow. In the end everything will turn out ok, it’s just the impatient waiting that’s killing us.
We have two more movies in our fall series, “Airplane!” on the 14th and “Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery” on the 28th. These movie nights are turning out to be a lot of fun so don’t miss out on the last two of the season. “Curtain” will be about 7:45. There’s no admission charge and we provide the popcorn. You should bring a camping or beach chair (we have chairs but ours aren’t very comfortable), a jacket and/or blankets, and snacks if you want them. 21 and over only, no pets, and no outside alcohol please. Support your local winemaker and drink local.
There’s also two classes remaining in the summer series, “Boutique” winemaking on the 20th of September, and “Candle Making” on October 18th. Both classes are $45 per person but wine club discounts apply. You’ll receive a fascinating lecture, 2 glasses of wine, and in the case of the Candle Making class, your very own candle to take home with you. Tickets are available at our online wine shop or in the Tasting Room.
Stop by and try the La Vie Dansante wines every Thursday through Monday from noon to 5pm.
We pour at “Blended, a Winemaker’s Studio” located on Dryden Ave east of Hwy 101 just north of Gilroy. Our weekend tasting fee, or when we pour as part of Blended, is $10 (refundable with the purchase of a bottle). On the weekdays we have no tasting fee.
If you’d like to visit us on a Tuesday or Wednesday give us a call at (408) 852-0779 or email email@example.com for an appointment.
November: Still Harvest, Eat, No Sleep, Make Wine!
11/16 – Friday, Jeff’s Birthday – We’ll be closed so he can sneak away to Paso Robles for the day.
11/22 – Thursday, Thanksgiving – We’ll be closed
11/23 – Black Friday – We’ll be open our normal noon to 5pm hours with special deals on wine and merchandise. Here’s your chance to stock up on wine for the holidays!
December: Rest and recover
12/8 – Saturday 6pm – La Vie Dansante Wines Winter Wine Club Release. Stay Tuned for more information as the date approaches.
12/23 – Friday – Blended’s Holiday Party! We’ll be open from noon to 5pm with special holiday snacks and surprises. From 6pm to 9pm we’ll have live music by Jason Cade in the Tasting Room.
12/24 – Monday, Christmas Eve – We’ll be closed.