La Vie Dansante Wines


In the life of a Winemaker, June is a month to catch-up and July is a month to begin preparing for harvest. As a rule-of-thumb I figure that 90 days after the Fourth of July we’ll be knee deep in harvest. Right now I’m feeling a combination of “more ready that ever”, and “pure panic” which pretty much describes me every year at this time.

On the “ready” side, we’ve got all of our grapes under contract and the quality this year is looking exceptional. This is mostly because of the wonderful winter rains and the temperate days we’ve been having but also because over the past four years we’ve developed relationships with the local growers and are no longer the low man on the totem pole – we get better fruit. This is also the first year we don’t need to purchase a bunch of new supplies and equipment. We’re in the fourth full year of winemaking and we plan to produce about the same amount of wine as last year – 1,500 cases – so instead of buying new gear we’ll be able to use the tanks, barrels, and such that until recently held the 2014 wines which are now in bottle.

On the “panic” side – there’s only about 75 days until the first day of harvest… are you kidding me? Where did the time go? We’ve got a MILLION things to take care of before the first grapes hit the crushpad. There’s equipment to clean and repair, the Flatbed needs a smog check, we need to bottle the 2016 Whites, etc, etc, etc.

This month we’re kicking-off the La Vie Dansante Wine Symposia with “The Art and Science of Tasting Wine” on July 13th, be sure to check out the additional information under the “Events” section of this page. We’re hoping to provide a new symposium each month going forward. A list of topic can be found under “The Life”, “Wine Symposia (Classes)” tab at the top of this page. A calendar hasn’t yet been determined

We’re starting to get a little more serious about distributing La Vie Dansante wines locally. Leanne Burr ( has joined the team to head our sales and marketing effort and take a little of the stress off of me. She’ll be working with our accounts to ensure they have a supply of our latest wines at all times as well as upgrading our retail merchandising and marketing materials.

Everybody’s been asking what affect all the early spring rains had on the vines… well, now we know – they’re going crazy! I’ve only been making wine for a half a dozen years and we’ve been in drought pretty much all of that time. I’m not used to seeing what a little water can do for vegetation. The vines are extremely vigorous which is causing us to do a lot of extra maintenance. First we did a pretty extreme shoot thinning early on to cut back on the non-productive canes, now we’re about to go through and hedge the vines. “Hedging” is when we trim the individual canes back to about four feet. This corrects the cluster to leaf ratio and opens up the canopy so that spraying can be more efficient. We don’t want the vines to “struggle”, but we don’t want them to think they’re on vacation either.

The first of the new Rosés, the Rosé of Mourvèdre, is out this month. It’s the perfect summertime pool wine. Low in alcohol but high in flavor and acids, it’s meant to be served well-chilled and not taken too seriously. This is a fun wine to accompany the warm afternoons ahead! Coming up next should be the first of the “LVD Wine Company” wines, “Stage Right” (or maybe “Left” depending on which is most ready in the first week of July). LVD Wine Company is a second label for La Vie Dansante Wines. It’s our play-around label where we can produce wines from non-Rhone varietals (I SWEAR I’ll be doing a Tempranillo…someday). The first wines, the “Stages” – Left and Right – are our answer to the question “do you use the grapes off this property?” Well, yes, yes we do – a bit. Stage Left is an Estate wine blended from Cabernet sauvignon and Zinfandel. Stage Right uses the Estate Cabernet but blends it with Syrah sourced from across the valley.

We’ve been working on the landscaping around the Tasting Room. This month we expect to plant grass in the picnic area and Olives along the parking lot. We’d also like to get the shade sails installed over the outdoor Tasting Area but that’s going to take some serious engineering – which around here means some serious drinking. We’ll see how that one goes. Speaking of engineering, our top priority for post-harvest is a patio with a firepit. We don’t even know where it’s going to be right now but we WILL have a nice fire to lounge around this fall. Of course you’re all invited too!


Upcoming Events

Tasting Room:
Stop by and try the La Vie Dansante wines every Saturday and Sunday 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 tasting fee is $10 (refundable with the purchase of a bottle).

If you work the weekends give us a call at (408) 852-0779 or email for a weekday appointment.

TBD – Release of the first wine under the “LVD Wine Company” logo. This is a new label we’re starting which will allow us to play with varietals other than Rhone. The first release will be “Stage Left” (or possibly “Right”), a blend of Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Zinfandel (or possibly Syrah). The date is TBD awaiting on the delivery of labels.

7/01-2  – La Vie Dansante Wines will be open our normal hours on the July 4th weekend, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5pm at Blended, a Winemaker’s Studio.

7/06 – La Vie Dansante Wines will be the featured wine at “Art Opening – David Krase”. Thursday, July 6th from 6:30 to 9:00 at GVA Cafe in downtown Morgan Hill. No charge. Come down and see a bright new voice in the New York art scene and enjoy a glass of your favorite La Vie Dansante Wines.

7/13 – The first La Vie Dansante Wine Symposium (class): The Art & Science of Tasting Wine. 6:30 to 8:30 at GVA Cafe in downtown Morgan Hill. Tickets are $35 per person (plus a small service charge) and are available in the Tasting Room or online through Sparxo at The Art & Science of Tasting Wine,  or through the La Vie Dansante Online Wine Shop.  La Vie Dansante Wine Club members please use the Online Wine Shop to ensure you receive you wine club discount!

7/17 – The second La Vie Dansante Wine Symposium (class): One Grape, Five Expressions; Syrah Around the World. 6:30 to 8:30 at GVA Cafe in downtown Morgan Hill. Tickets are $40 per person and are available in the Tasting Room or online through through the La Vie Dansante Online Wine Shop.  Wine Club discounts apply!  The first class sold out quickly and space is limited so get your tickets now.

TBD – Harvest 2017 begins!