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Chris Corley
June 23, 2021 | Chris Corley

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice coincided with Fathers Day this year, and we enjoyed the late sunset at the end of a very enjoyable day. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and is generally considered the beginning of summer.

The word 'Solstice' has Latin roots, deriving from the words 'sol' (sun), and 'sistere' (to stand still). At the solstices, the Sun's declination appears to 'stand still' ... the seasonal movement of the Sun's daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.

From a symbolistic perspective, the Summer Solstice represents the transition from action to nourishment. The days become longer in the summer, and we embark on journey from darkness to light. In the vineyard, we see a transition from action to nourishment at this time as welUp to this time, the vines have been growing aggressively in a vegetative state, producing long green shoots, wispy tendrils, lush green leaves. The clusters have flowered and developed into small, hard, acidic, green grapes. Now with the longer summer days ahead, the vegetative growth will slow and the nourishment of the grapes will begin, as they will start to get bigger, softer and will eventually begin the softening and ripening process known as veraison. This is when the grapes start to soften and turn color (if they are red varietals). 

I've always enjoyed this time of year. The days get longer, the sunrises and sunsets are beautiful. The vineyards are an absolute pleasure to walk through right now, and we can start to really get a fell for how the vintage is developing. So far, so good.

Our Summer Solstice wine recommendations are for easy drinking afternoon wines ... MONTICELLO Rose of Pinot Noir 'Estate Grown' is a wonderfully refreshing, dry, aromatic wine that pairs well with a solstice sunset. MONTICELLO Chardonnay 'Estate Grown' is an elegant style of Chardonnay, well-balanced with bright acidity and a subtle background of oak. MONTICELLO Pinot Noir 'Estate Grown' is the grape that lured our dad here fifty years ago. This wine pairs perfectly with a Summer Solstice Sunset, a quite evening to reflect on all that is important in life. 

Cheers to you and, thank you for visiting our blog, and we look forward to seeing you at the winery sometime soon! 

Time Posted: Jun 23, 2021 at 8:23 PM Permalink to Summer Solstice Permalink
Chris Corley
June 14, 2021 | Chris Corley

Dear Ol' Dad

As Fathers Day approached, we’ve been thinking a lot about the Founder of our winery, Jay Corley. To seven of us, he is Dear Ol’ Dad. To twelve others, he is Grandad, although there are a few more that refer to him that way, from their hearts. He had a gregarious personality, a big heart, and vision.

In the late 1960s, his love for the wines of Burgundy sparked something in him. He became very interested in growing grapes, making wine, specifically Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the late 1960s, if you wanted to grow world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California, you would probably look to establish yourself in the southern end of the Napa Valley. At least you would if you were Jay Corley!

Please enjoy this short video greeting from one of Jay’s sons, Winemaker Chris Corley.

VIDEO : In The Vineyard | Winemaker Chris Corley

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the two primary varietals that lured our dad to establish his vineyard in what is now known as the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. When he first saw the land, it was a declining prune orchard, with a stand of black walnut trees down by the river. The neighbors were growing figs. Grapevines were just making a comeback as a commercial (legal) crop in the late 1960s. This was a long-standing effect from Prohibition … when alcohol was outlawed, the winegrapes of Napa Valley lost almost all of their value, since winegrapes don’t have much commercial value other than being a raw product to make wine.

Dear Ol’ Dad planted primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with small amounts of Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Cabernet Sauvignon was all grown upvalley, as was the conventional wisdom of the time. That was fifty years ago, and we’ve learned a lot in the meantime. ‘We’ being our family, our winery, our friends, colleagues, the whole wine industry.

Now, in addition to our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir … we proudly grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah in Oak Knoll District. That said, it was Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that originally lured us here, so we have a special place in our hearts for these two.

This week, we’re honoring our Founder, Father, Grandfather, ‘Dear Ol Dad’ by offering two very special wines that we know he would love … CORLEY Chardonnay ‘Block 3, Clone 95’ 2018 and CORLEY Pinot Noir ‘Block 2, Clone 777’ 2018. Both of these wines are Estate Grown, Produced and Bottled.

They are 100% varietal, and speak to the unique soil, climate and topography of our estate vineyard. If you hold the empty bottle to your ear, you might hear the daily afternoon Oak Knoll District breeze, and the subtle footsteps in the vineyard.

We hope that you’ll consider joining us in celebrating Fathers Day with these two special wines. For more information, please visit, call us at (707) 253-2802, or email us at

Time Posted: Jun 14, 2021 at 4:46 AM Permalink to Dear Ol' Dad Permalink

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