May 30, 2014

The Ravings of a Passionate Viticulturist

(2014 Wine Grape Growing Season Notes From Kiler Canyon Vineyard, Westside Paso Robles)

What's Happening in the Vineyard

Growing Season Timing:  The dates of bud break (first opening of buds into leaves) and flowering are good indications of whether the growing season is early, normal or late.  Syrah and Grenache plants were at 50% flowering  two weeks ago  5/07/14. This is approximately 3 weeks earlier than normal for the past 5 years.  Right now, these same Syrah and Grenache vines have reached fruit set which is when the grape flower has been pollinated and now forms a tiny berry.  An indication of the degree of fruit set is what percentage of the flowers have turned into berries.

Grenache fruit set 5-28-2014 
Grenache bud break 3-15-2014
 Grenache flowering 5-14-2014  
State of the Canopy:  The early red varieties of red wine grapes, Syrah and Grenache have reached nearly full canopy size and objectively(tongue in cheek)  the canopy looks wonderfully healthy.  The later red wine grape varietals in our vineyard, Tempranillo and Mourvedre, are normally about 2-3 weeks later and need a few weeks for the canopy to fully expand.  Flowering in these varietals has progressed nicely.

LXV Shiraz/Syrah block, Kiler Canyon Vineyard
  Grenache, Clone C, Kiler Canyon Vineyard
Water:  The growing season has been wonderfully cool, leading to less need to irrigate and vines with almost no exposure to heat stress at this time.

Last year, we started honey bee keeping and have become aware that many man-made chemicals applied to vineyards are very toxic to bees.  So, a year ago, we stopped utilizing chemical fungicides in the vineyard.  As a result, all of our powdery mildew sprays are natural materials such as stylett oil, sulfur and etc.  More on the (etc.) and bees in a later writing.

Future Weeks:  Next in the vineyard, these new berries need to grow to full size.  The period for cell division growth in the grape berry is about 6 weeks.  This is a critical period in the development of a berry as it is the largest factor determining berry size which we like to be as small as practical.  The smaller the berry is larger the berry surface area/volume ratio becomes.  The large surface area/volume ratio leads to increasing influence of berry skin vs berry pulp on the characteristics of the fruit and increased concentration of the fruit at harvest.

Conclusion:  So If this temperate weather continues,  I am looking forward to a banner growing season with much room for the extended hang time required to  get each varietal to optimum ripeness.

Don Hofer

About Don Hofer: Don Hofer retired as a research chemist from the Research Division of IBM in 2000. At IBM he pursued
the research & development of materials for semiconductor lithography.  After retiring Don planted 25.5 acres of wine grapes on their property in Kiler Canyon, Paso Robles. In addition  to continually learning the art and science of viticulture, Don has the hobbies of honey bee keeping and  furniture building. He says his new goal in life is to become a master furniture builder.
LXV Wine sources two  clones of Syrah (including the Estrella clone) from Don!

May 22, 2014

Secret Craving: A Secret So Lavish, We Can't Keep It...

It is the shadowy desire that crosses your mind in the deep, open possibilities of a long night, and in the rejuvenation of a new morning...the strength of your convictions and the frivolity of your indulgences..the coaxing you give in to when no one is looking...
your Secret Craving.

Photo by Sarah Graybill - -

The Secret Is Out
Our Secret Craving? It’s a deep, ruby-colored wine…a mellow yet dramatic performance starring three distinct beauties: Cab Fanc, Syrah and Merlot.

Plucked from the rich soil of Paso Robles, the grapes that wrote the script for this unique ensemble deliver an engaging deep fruit and blueberry performance. Subtly sweet and gracefully bold, this hush-hush concoction speaks of its passions through flavors of cassis, leather and spice.

Sip it, pair it, chill it, air it…and each time, it will provide you with an experience more unique than the last. It’s the very evidence of intrique and the very magic of science, all at once.

The First Rendezvous
On a breezy, sunny Sunday this past weekend, Secret Craving was poured at a secret tasting on LXV winery property in Paso Robles, greeted by the eyes, noses and palates of a select few “suitors” who could not wait to meet LXV’s (and winemaker Amy Butler’s) latest work of winemaking art.

Photo by Sarah Graybill - -
Surrounded by barn wood, vines, crystal chandeliers, homemade international cuisine and superb company, lucky wine-lovers basked in the glow of this chic rural hideaway as it created the perfect balance between a simple backdrop and a complex, agile wine.

Experience the Magic
If you can’t bear to leave this Secret Craving unsatiated a moment longer, we invite you to a mysteriously riveting and whimsically indulgent tasting this Saturday, May 24, 7-9:30PM at the rustically elegant LXV property.

On-location at LXV, world-renowned LA magician David Minkin will conjure an exclusive, private magic show for an intimate group of spectators, to their delight and amazement.

The magical gathering will include:
-       Wine tasting (meet your Secret Craving)
-       Indian epicurean delights (aka, outstanding food)
-       A private magic show
-       Mysticism, ambience and intrigue

Photo credit:
Saturday, May 24th
(7:00pm - 9:30p
LXV Wine (Willow Creek Ranch)
3680 Willow Creek Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Directions: 101 - 46W exit, Head West on 46. Turn Right on Vineyard Drive. After 0.8 miles, second right on Willow CreekRoad. After 0.5 miles, just after Changala Winery, you will see a board for LXV.
Parking: Plenty of parking on Willow Creek and in front of the house.

50 seats ONLY!
$85 per person
$72.25 - LXV Club Members (contact Neeta for the code)
$75.50 - groups of 4 or more
Purchase at: or call Neeta at 530-763-3821.

ID: Please bring some form of identification

Dress: Relaxed cocktail - (Dressy but no tie necessary). This is an outdoor event, so please wear comfortable shoes and bring a light sweater.

We can’t wait to see you there. And THAT’S no secret at all...

Memorial Day Weekend at LXV Wine

This Weekend at LXV
(May 22nd-25th)
Thu-Sun | 1PM-7PM

Releasing our newest blend: Secret Craving
Spice pairings with all the wines


Music & Naan Nights  
Friday, May 23rd, 5-7PM
Bites from Neeta’s Indian kitchen, served on the patio with live music featuring, Of Wind & Waves.

M A G I C + Wine
Saturday, May 24th, 7PM-9PM
LXV invites back International magician, David Minkin for an evening of magic, wine tasting and Indian buffet 
(For reservations: 530-763-3821)


2013 Rose 
2012 Viognier
2012 Grenache- Syrah -Tempranillo
2012 Cab Franc-Syrah-Merlot

Amy Butler

Also available:
Picnic boxes