• March 24th 2021

    Dear Friends,

    Happy Spring!  It is an early Spring in Wine Country with many sunny and warm days in the low-70s.  The mustard is blooming, adding to the color palette of all the wildflowers on our hills.  We are open again for outdoor tastings.  The green hills and the colorful flowers provide a beautiful vista for our guests as they sip Nicholson Ranch wine in our courtyard.

    In the vineyard, the vines are waking up from a dormant winter with tiny buds emerging from last year’s branches.  From each bud will grow a shoot that will extend in length every week.  By mid-May these shoots are six-feet tall.  Each shoot has a leaf every three inches, each leaf alternating in direction positioning them for maximum sunlight.  The first two leaves that emerge are accompanied by grape-flower buds.  These buds will flower in mid-May, the flowers will pollinate and form tiny berries by early June. The sunshine and the warmth in the three months of Summer will make the fruit bigger and then sweeter and then more flavorful, each an important step to producing the most delicious grapes you have ever had.  As every winemaker knows, good grapes make good wine.  My job as a winemaker is to nurture the vines, harvest the grapes carefully and provide an ideal environment for the grapes to ferment and the wine to age.  Other than that my job is to get out of the way and let Nature take its perennial course. 

    Spring and Easter is a time to experience and reflect on renewal.  The past twelve months have posed extraordinary challenges, but the new buds in the vineyard, however tiny they may be, are Spring’s reminder that it is a new year with sunny days ahead for all of us.

    Plan your trips and visits to Nicholson Ranch and experience the seasons in the vineyard.


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    Deepak Gulrajani

  • April 2024

    Dear Friends,

    Spring is here!  After an interminable number of rainy days, we finally have had a week (or more) of sunshine daily.  We surely need the rain in California, and I am very grateful to get a typical wet season.  But I miss the sunshine, and it could not have come at a better time.  The rain is excellent; it soaks into the soil, sustaining the thirsty vines throughout the year.  Sunshine in March, following the wet winter, is ideal, just as the young vines are waking up from their winter dormancy.  All in all, a great start to 2024.

    Spring is also when we focus on bottling the wines from earlier vintages.  This year, we will be bottling many Pinot Noirs from 2022 and NIRVANA from 2021.  All the big reds to be bottled, Nicholson Ranch Merlot and Syrah, and Gulrajani Super-Tuscans and Cabernets are from 2021.  Two parallel tracks are essential for bottling.  The first is what is in the bottle, the wine itself, which is both a sensory and an immersive experience.  The second, much more mundane and prosaic, is the glass bottle and the packaging.

    Let us get to the wine.  I taste every barrel to ensure the quality of each barrel and to select barrels to reserve for NIRVANA.  Tasting wine from barrels is one of the favorite parts of my role as a winemaker.  Besides the wine tasting great, the work completely absorbs my attention, letting me forget about all other concerns.  Going from barrel to barrel, I am so grateful for what each barrel does to the wine.  The barrel, as you know, adds aroma and flavor and, more subtly, adds texture and body.  A wine not aged in a barrel can have great fruit and floral aromas.  A wine flavored with oak (essence, powder, or oak chips) will show vanilla, toast, and spice. However, only true barrel aging will transform the texture and integrate the fruit and oak flavors to create a sensory experience of smell, taste, and texture, from the bouquet to the mouthfeel to the finish.  Only patient barrel aging can make a great wine that will go beyond the sensory experience and spark emotions of joy, contentment, and nostalgia.

    Now for the nuts and bolts of getting the wine into bottles and planning the bottling.  After ordering the bottles, foils, labels, and corks, I ensure the bottling truck has been reserved and confirmed well in advance. I measure and check order quantities not just twice but three times.  Fortunately, the agony and stress of supply-chain problems are mostly behind us.  Getting ready for bottling is stressful enough. Better planning leads to bottling the wine without heat and oxygen exposure, which would diminish the quality.  I aim to open a freshly bottled wine and feel the same emotions of joy and contentment that I get tasting the wine from barrels.  

    This wine release includes the 2020 NIRVANA, a wine aged for three years in French oak barrels, and sure to evoke strong emotions with the first whiff of its aromas.  A detailed description is below.  


    Deepak Gulrajani
    Winemaker / Owner
    Nicholson Ranch