Kenzo Estate: Throughout the Phases

 By July and August we go through veraison, in which the grapes clusters change from green to a dark purple color.

In 1980 I started a vineyard management company, which has been successful for over 30 years. In 2000 I met Kenzo Tsujimoto and I joined the Kenzo Estate team in 2002. What initially attracted me to the Kenzo Estate were the soils, elevation and temperature on the property. There are also many beneficial aspects in the microclimate of the Estate’s location that are truly tremendous. Given its proximity to the San Francisco bay, there are cooler temperatures that influence Kenzo Estate as well as the entire Napa Valley.  The wines express the richness and complexity of the soils, elevation and temperature. I am fortunate enough to work with the great people of Kenzo Estate.

Today, we have developed 100 acres in six phases. Phases are vineyard development time periods, lasting between 1-2 years. Each phase involves ripping soils, soil amendments, underground drainage, erosion control, rootstock selection and row orientation. Grape varietals planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2000, we started with Phase 1 and planted the Bordeaux varietals. Now we are planting Phase 6 which consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc.

My company runs the vineyard management operation. This includes pruning the vines and cane tying in the winter.  In the spring months of March and April, we have our frost season. During this time period the vines are no longer dormant and we have bud break. These buds need to be protected so there is a frost protection system at the vineyard.

In May and June, we go through flowering stage. During these months, green grape clusters begin to develop. In June, we trim these clusters and remove any excess on the vine. By July and August we go through veraison, in which the grapes clusters change from green to a dark purple color. The grapes begin the process of developing sugar and flavor.

In September, we start to sample the fruit to gather sugar or brix levels to determine when to harvest. We taste the grapes while walking through the vineyard and run analysis on the sugar levels back at the winery.

Harvest time depends on the flavor and brix levels of the grapes. It typically occurs in September and October. Once we deliver the harvest grapes to the winery, the winemaking team takes over. They help put the grapes through fermentation. After the fermentation process is over they go into barrels, then into bottles for a period of time.  The finished product is shipped to the consumer. Throughout the year, my company conducts the vineyard operation side of the winemaking process to ensure we have the perfect environment to produce the most exceptional wines.

Kenzo Estate
3200 Monticello Road
Napa, CA 94558