MONTEREY, Calif.  (  The 2011 wine grape harvest in the Arroyo Seco appellation is a bit behind schedule, thanks to an unusually cool, wet spring and summer. But the same conditions that have delayed the start of Crush have also combined to allow slow, gentle ripening and maturation of the area’s Pinot Noir fruit — making for a potentially very high quality crop. Newcomer Blair Vineyards, located in the eastern most tip of the Arroyo Seco AVA, will be conducting its second harvest.

“I estimate we’ll be picking Pinot Noir clone 667 the first week of October on our Delfina’s home estate,” comments owner Jeffrey Blair. “Clone 777 about a week after that and our Pommard 4 and 115 plantings near the middle of the month. We are looking at about 1.5 tons of fruit per acre, after thinning shoots and dropping fruit to help focus the vines. With a little more heat and no early fall rains, we should have a very high quality Pinot crop this year — the flavors already rock!”

The Blair property’s unique location at the upper end of the “Arroyo Seco cone” meant the vineyard was shielded from the unusual April freezes and rains that impacted much of the rest of the state. In addition, Jeffrey points out that “the Salinas Valley narrows at our doorstep, giving us consistent winds off Monterey Bay — this helps keep us dry and free of the mildew and rot problems experienced elsewhere.”

Blair Vineyards is the newest micro-estate jewel in the Arroyo Seco appellation. The Blair family has deep roots in Monterey County, farming there for five generations. Initial plantings of six acres are focusing on ultra-premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two varietals perfectly suited to the rocky soils and cool climate of this northeast corner of the Arroyo Seco. Next year will see the family releasing its debut Pinot Noir vintage from the property.

Contact: Jeffrey Blair, 831.596.1505,

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