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Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal

Some Valuable Observations

By Bruce Neyers

Thursday 27th June, 2024


In spring 2010, we needed to dig a new groundwater well at Conn Valley so we hired Huckfeldt Well Drilling. Lloyd Huckfeldt’s son Don now runs the business, and they’re as good as they come at this bit of complicated engineering. Don called soon after he began and reported that they’d encountered a deep and wide gravel deposit. This would make the project easier, he said, and probably result in some cost savings too, after modifying the support. Tadeo heard the news and remarked, “Well, that explains it.”


Tadeo went on to say that the wines from the two parcels next to the new well regularly displayed characteristics he thought were especially fruity, soft, and mineral – with exotic traces of lavender and other herbs. The differences didn’t seem to come from the higher percentage of Merlot, rather from the greater concentration in the wines from the higher elevation parcels, planted in Basalt. The gravel soil seemed to retain these aromatic advantages. He proposed we make two separate wines — one, the Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, from the higher elevation vines, the second, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, from the gravelly soils near the new well. These latter two parcels are on the left bank of the creek that flows through our ranch, so we called that wine ‘Left Bank Red.’ Since our inaugural vintage in 2014, it has been a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the amounts varying from year to year. In recent years, there has been greater variation than before due to the especially dry weather.


The April 2024 issue of ‘The Wine Enthusiast,’ made the following observations:


2021 Left Bank Red Napa Valley

“This sturdy, well-concentrated Merlot-based blend offers tempting black and blue fruits, velvety tannins and an almost sweet fruitiness that leads to a lingering finish. Notes of cocoa, vanilla and chocolate cherries give plenty to appreciate. Best through 2030. 92 POINTS” — Jim Gordon




Tortellini Pasta with Hot and Sweet Italian Sausage



    • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
    • ¼ pound of Italian hot sausage, casing removed
    • 1 pound of fresh cheese tortellini
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 can whole tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes into bite-size pieces
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    • Diamond crystal Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper



  1. In a large Dutch oven combine the olive oil and tomato paste. Stir until it is rusty red in color.
  2. Breaking the sausage into small pieces, add to the olive oil and tomato paste mixture.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is starting to crisp — Approximately 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and the tomato juice from the can and add the tortellini.
  5. Cover the pot and cook until the tortellini are tender — Approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Stir the mixture occasionally. Add water if the sauce looks dry.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Sprinkle each portion with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
The vines have completed flowering, and the berries are pollinated. They’re now ready to develop into mature grape clusters for the 2024 harvest. This is a Merlot vine in our House Block on June 10. The crop looks great so far, but we still have a long road ahead. Photo by Lizzie Neyers Mix

We are still enjoying some mild weather here in Conn Valley, and Barbara has a great recipe for Pasta with Italian Sweet and Hot Sausage. It’s delicious on a chilly late spring evening and is especially tasty with our Left Bank Red.

Neyers Vineyards Left Bank Red