California has a new AVA!
Announced on November 18, 2020, the Tehachapi Mountains AVA will “officially” become the 252nd AVA in the United States (and 141 in Californiast) on December 21.
The new AVA is located in Kern County, California, approximately 120 miles within (east) San Luis Obispo. It does not match any of the existing appellations. The AVA surrounds the town of Tehachapi and is partly located in the high altitude mountains of Tehachapi (part of the larger Sierra Nevada mountain range). Viticulture and production started in the region in 2006.
According to the proposal (originally submitted in June 2018), the distinctive features of the Tehachapi Mountains AVA include its climate and topography:
Weather: Despite its high elevation, the Tehachapi Mountain region is generally not subject to severe frosts or severe winter conditions. Warm winds from the San Joaquin Valley (to the west) and the Mojave Desert (to the east) keep winter temperatures moderate, although spring frosts do occasionally occur. Temperatures rarely exceed 100 ° F during the summer. The zone is best suited to the grapes recommended for Winkler II and III zones.
Topography: Elevation in the area ranges from 3,600 feet to 5,400 feet, with the majority of the terrain ranging from 3,800 feet to 4,600 feet above sea level. These wineries are among the highest vineyards in California. Located at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the region consists of slopes, valleys and hills.
The Tehachapi Mountains AVA covers a total of 58,000 acres of land and currently contains 7 commercial vineyards and approximately 25 acres of vines. At last count, the region had two wineries. Triassic vineyards (located a few blocks from Adorable alpaca ranch) produces a range of interesting wines and has 7 hectares of vineyards planted with Zinfandel, Viognier, Tempranillo and Syrah. Dorner family vineyards has a magnificent wedding hall, a Tuscan-inspired tasting room and several hectares of riesling and zinfandel.
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We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.
The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very souple and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the juste temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter kit packages. See our video showing the variétés of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment kits which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment