most dramatic changes and extraordinary improvements in
the wine business are found in the vineyard and winery.
"Years ago, the vines would get one long drink in the
spring which was believed to be enough until harvest,"
Bruce Cakebread, President and COO at Cakebread Cellars, said. "Today,
Cakebread Cellars uses a neutron-probe irrigation system
which allows us to accurately measure how much water specific
vines are using and how much watering is needed to grow
"In early years at harvest, we brought
all the fruit in, de-stemmed and crushed it and put the
wine in barrels as a matter of routine. The only variations
were for red or white grapes," Bruce remembered. "Today,
we have 'game plans' for each block in every vineyard which
are written during the summer, so we're ready for harvest."
A game plan includes how to press (de-stem or whole-cluster),
fermentation instructions and which barrels to use (different
oak and toast) - all based on data from previous vintages
and reflecting the current growing season. "We don't
repeat undesirable combinations and the entire crew knows
ahead of time what the game plan is so we get the best we
can from the fruit."
This increase in sophistication
and knowledge in winemaking has given Cakebread Cellars
the opportunity to offer a broader selection of wines to
their customers. In addition to a diverse selection of new
varietals available at the winery, two new wines have been
released that demonstrates the difference between vineyards
located in the Eastern and Western slopes of the Napa Valley.
Both are Cabernet Sauvignons that represent the distinctive
terroir of the opposing sides of the valley.