John Kelly

  • Pirate Wines Are Better Than Natural Wines

    I’ve always liked pirates. Not the plundering, raping, murdering barbarity of pirates. Not the horrible death in battle on the high seas or the ignominious death hanging at the end of a rope in port if captured. No, what I’ve always liked about pirates is the idea of living outside the system, ignoring the rules, not caring or having to care what others think, being master o ...

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 7 readers -
  • Winemaker’s Madeleine

    Woke up to a crisp morning after rain yesterday. The smell of Autumn is in the air. Smells at the winery are reaching their seasonal end also. Thursday I pressed off my last wine lot of the 2014 vintage, the Cabernet I’m making with Marcel that we macerated for 37 days. Completing the work of harvest usually provokes me to reflection, if not melancholy.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 3 readers -
  • This Crush Is Almost Done

    03 Oct 2014 at 22:34 John Kelly Harvest, Journal, Vineyard, Winemaking, Winery This crush is nearly over for me. In my last post I talked about leaving Westwood and starting something new. Thanks to all who have contacted me expressing support. I assure everyone that leaving Westwood has not been especially traumatic.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 8 readers -
  • Sic Transit Westwood

    By the time I post this I will no longer be a partner in the investor group that owns the Westwood Winery and Estate vineyard. I have stepped aside as winemaker, general manager, vineyard manager, and head of marketing and PR — all the hats I have worn for so many years here — and have sold my interest in favor of a new investor.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 5 readers -
  • ALL Wines Deserve A Level Playing Field

    Alice Feiring and I don’t often agree, but today she put up a lament on the exclusion of wines she loves by “quality panels” in Canada and South Africa that I sympathize with completely. The brilliant label pictured (love how they have used the bar code!) graces a wine that is unusual. Because it is unusual, tasters on the South Africa Wine & Spirit Board rejected it and t ...

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 6 readers -
  • Stop Calling Wine “Juice”

    I admit it’s a pet peeve of mine. I acknowledge that there are more important things going on in the world of wine, like the current schmoozing at IPNC, or maybe the lack of diversity on wine writer panels at the recent blogger conference. But please, I implore everyone! For the love of God stop referring to wine as “juice”! It’s Infantile Toddlers drink juice. Wine is an adult beverage.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 6 readers -
  • 2014 Bloom Progress

    May 15th and we are at the end of a string of near-100° days — a pattern that has set in for the time being here in the North Bay: 3-4 hot days followed by 3-4 cooler, “normal” days. The picture above illustrates the start of bloom in the Syrah at our Estate vineyard. I also noticed a few flowers in the Roussanne and the Cabernet.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 1 readers -
  • Flowering — The Real Start To Vintage 2014

    10 May 2014 at 16:22 John Kelly Journal, Vineyard, Weather Today I’m calling flowering in all the cane-pruned Pinot Noir at the Estate vineyard. It surprised me to see that the heritage Pinot selections including the Pinot Liébault (Haynes selection) are ahead of the Dijon clone Pinot 943. The 943 is usually the earliest ripening clone on the site.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 1 readers -
  • "Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics" – It Was Ever Thus…

    As a consumer, or as a producer, how badly do you really want to know what is in your wine? Would you stop buying (or making) a wine you really liked if you found that it didn’t “stack up” against others in areas that had nothing to do with aroma, flavor, value, or age-worthiness? As a producer, do you change the way you make a successful wine in reaction to some arbitrary praise for a different.

    John Kelly/ notes from the winemaker- 1 readers -