Happy New Year! Steve & Robbie stand in the Vineyard in the last light of 2015.

Happy New Year! Steve & Robbie stand in the Vineyard in the last light of 2015.

Happy New Year! We want to thank you for being part of Condor’s Hope community and sharing in the joy of working in the vineyard, and, of course, enjoying the wonderful wine and olive oil. We truly could not do it without you.

The big news for 2015, yet certainly not the new news, is that California experienced the fourth year of drought, the worst in recorded history. This greatly impacted our dry-farm system that mainly depends on rainfall and water collected in the soil to nourish the plants. With less than 7 inches of rain during the 2014-2015 rainy season, the land was very dry by the time of spring bud break.

What this meant for us is that both the grapevines and olive trees had a very low yield. While we expect amazing wine from 2015—very concentrated from the smaller grape size—there will not be much of it. We actually did not get enough Shiraz to make a 2015 vintage and will be making our rosé blend from the grapes of another dry farmed vineyard. We got 1/3 of our expected olive harvest. The full-bodied, peppery finish is delightful on salads, soups and bread. We harvested 700 pounds of olives yielding less than 18 gallons of oil. 2015 brought us great intensity but very low yields.

Going through the drought and watching the plants suffer has put us in even closer touch with our environment. We’ve watched both Manzanita shrubs and Oak trees native to this dry chaparral die from the lack of water in the soil. Farming within our natural limits is teaching us patience and also to count on our community.

And our community—one of the pillars of Condor’s Hope—made this year such a special one. Thank you! Whether you visited us at the Santa Cruz Farmers Markets (our tasting room!), joined us at the vineyard for the work parties, grape and olive harvests; sharing Condor’s Hope with you, the land and our practices, is such an important connection and so nourishing for us. We also enjoyed hosting special events like the Spring Festival  and Yoga Retreat at the Vineyard and special tasting events in Santa Cruz. These are celebrations of community and we look forward to more in 2016. We want to give special thanks to our Wine Club members. You are an ongoing part of our community—our very foundation—and we continue to share the stories of the land with you as well as the fruits of our labor.

We wish each of you a very happy and healthy 2016. Look for our upcoming spring events. And we hope to see you soon.

We raise our glasses to your good health and well-being!

Robbie & Steve