February 12, 2016

In Anticipation of Spring

Filed under: Estate Update — burke @ 4:47 pm









Greetings from Continuum Estate,

We have been blessed and grateful for the rains of January this year.  Very different from this time last year!  Wanted to share some of the latest happenings from our hilltop…

We hope the vines will continue to sleep through March following the last few years’ early awakenings.  I have been catching up with Ryan, our Vineyard Manager, so as to share with you the latest.

At present, our team is working diligently to prune the vineyard.  In fact, as of the second week of February, 12 blocks have been completed!

Continuum Estate is made up of 37 vineyard blocks planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot.  The property in its entirety rests comfortably above the fog line though each block enjoys a slightly different soil makeup, aspect and elevation.  Much of the vines’ vigor potential is determined based on its unique set of conditions.  With each vintage, pruning is the first step we take in our efforts to balance the vines’ vigor potential.  It sets the stage for the entire season and, if done with forethought, can also favorably position our vineyard for the vintage that follows.

More mature blocks such as block “M” and “CD” as well as those that are less susceptible to frost, like block “E”, are pruned first.  Low lying swales in the vineyard where the cool air pools, such as block “RR”, “H” and “G” are likely to be pruned in early March.  Doing so will delay bud break (sometimes up to 10 days) giving the vines within that block a better chance to mitigate potential frost damage.

It is incredibly important to us that we handle pruning internally.  According to Ryan, “Good pruners prune with the intention to set the vine up for success this season. Great pruners, like those on our team, use their cumulative experience from past seasons to be able to make pruning decisions that will benefit the vine this year and next year. ”

Handling pruning internally also affords us the opportunity to be nimble around rain events though it does require some additional lead time.  This is why we allocate a generous amount of time by beginning to prune in January.

Our team enjoys this time of year.  To have a moment with each vine, surveil its skeletal structure, consider the conditions ahead, prune accordingly and be able to monitor the result is incredibly gratifying.  “It’s a festive time,” says Ryan.  “Pruning marks the beginning and our full attention is devoted to this incredibly important part of making an exceptional wine.”

We believe the character and nuance of our wine is directly tied to the complexity of this site.  Taking the time to tend to the specific needs of each vine at every opportunity allows us honor the potential of this site and help it express the soul of this place year after year.

Thanks for following this early stage of the 2016 vintage with us!

Lindsey Maldonado

September 4, 2014

Continuum- shaken & rattled but not rolled

Filed under: News — burke @ 4:55 pm

Tim Mondavi

As many of you have heard, Napa Valley experienced a 6.1 earthquake Sunday, August 24th. While we do occasionally feel a small trembler here in the valley, the last significant one being 2000, usually we feel safe from the big shakes.

Until now that is.

We are grateful that up here on Pritchard Hill, the estate and the winery suffered no damage; all came through unscathed. Most importantly, our Continuum team did not experience any lasting damage to either themselves or their homes. Many wineries, homes and businesses in Napa have suffered tremendously; our hearts and prayers go out to them as they heal and rebuild.

Each year we continue to learn more and more about this beautiful property, which is very exciting as we continue to build a First Growth in Napa Valley. And it is also very exciting for me to see how the next generation of my family (the fourth) continues to build and develop their wine expertise. This year we have seen my daughter Carissa take on an expanded role as our wine ambassador both here at the estate and in the market, while my other daughter Chiara has become fully integrated into our Continuum vineyard and winemaking operations.

My two sons, Carlo and Dante, while still handling sales responsibilities for Continuum, have initiated their own artisan Pinot Noir project, RAEN. While RAEN is not part of Continuum and I am not involved with any of the operations, I am excited about their project and wish them success. To learn more about REAN, please contact Carlo and Dante at

The 2014 harvest is on its way here on Pritchard Hill and we plan to begin picking Friday the 5th of September. Overall flavors and phenological development are occurring earlier this year, from both a calendar timeframe and from flowering to harvest, as a result of an earlier than usual springtime with overall warmer temperatures and drier conditions.

Our estate winery, completed just last year, will begin its second harvest tomorrow and we are ready for it. Ready to create the greatest and most complex wine of my career. Continuum in its entirety is a life long dream come true for me, and its safe to say, for all of us. My family and team are very proud of what together we are accomplishing.

We look forward to our best harvest ever!

In continuum,



Continuum on the road

Filed under: Events — burke @ 4:19 pm


Wine Spectator Wine Experience

October 16-19th

Marriott Marquis, New York


Big Sur Food & Wine Festival

November 6-7t

Highlands Inn, Carmel


Chesapeake Bay Wine Festival

November 6th-9th

Virginia Beach, Virginia


The 12 Days of Christmas

December 13th

Meadowood Resort, St. Helena


December 17, 2013

Continuum Estate’s winery above the clouds

Filed under: News — burke @ 7:04 pm
Tim admires the new tanks at Continuum Estate.

Tim admires the new tanks at Continuum Estate.

Since breaking ground two years ago, we have looked forward to the day when Continuum’s winery would be ready to open. On September 2nd, 2013, we were ready! The first fruit was harvested and brought to the winery for sorting and crushing before being placed in oak or concrete tanks for fermentation. At Continuum, each of our 36 vineyard blocks are harvested, sorted, crushed and fermented independently of the rest, so our estate winery was specially designed and constructed to work in harmony with this magnificent site. Situated at the highest point on the property, the winery was designed and engineered by Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, Architects, with all construction managed and contracted by Grassi & Associates.  The winery design, informed by the number of vineyard blocks and varied aspects, has a variety of specially designed oak and cement fermentation tanks so the winemaker has a number of options with which to protect the purity of fruit and enhance each block’s unique character.

Estate based design-

The winery fermentation vessels are a combination of Taransaud and Francois Fouderie oak, ranging from 2.5- 8 tons in size (75%), Sonoma Cast Stone and Nomblot concrete vessels 3- 6 tons sizes (20%) with a small amount (10%) of fermentation in oak barrels and ¾ ton open bins. All wood and concrete fermentation tanks are equipped with automated pump over air pumps and temperature control sensors to ensure a gentle and timely extraction. In this way, with each lot handled independently, all receive the correct temperature, extraction and timing, guaranteeing a carefully tracked and balanced fermentation. In addition each fermentation area was equipped with higher ceilings, allowing for easy top of tank access.


Continuum uses a variety of gentle techniques including Burgundian manual punchdowns, Bordelais rack and returns, and automated pump overs to keep the cap wet and well incorporated into the must. In addition, the wine lees that settle after fermentation on the bottom of the tank, are stirred regularly  to nourish and enrich the wine and polish the tannins. After fermentation is complete, all lots are drained and placed in 225 liter French oak barrels from various coopers, mainly Taransaud and François Freres for elevage.


At the estate, situated on top of a mountain, water is a sparse commodity and so a unique water system has been created. Developed with the assistance of Professor Roger Boulton at U.C. Davis, all rainwater is collected, filtered, ozonated and stored in a specially designed tank in a cave within the hillside behind the winery, providing more than enough water for all production needs. In addition, solar thermal panel technology heats the water for winery use.

Another unique element is the removal of carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. The Co2 is vented away so that the winery more easily maintains optimum temperature and humidity levels during crush, thereby reducing energy and equipment needs.

The winery is unusually quiet and clutter free with design elements developed by Tim Mondavi. Winery equipment is provided with shock absorbers and rubber casters to keep the facility relatively quiet even during crush. Additionally, Tim’s design removes the exhaust and noise produced by winery pumps by venting it into the ground and so away from the winery building. Whenever possible, equipment is mobile and so, after use, is put in storage.

All of us are thrilled with how well the winery has worked this first harvest; we think it’s the beginning of a beautiful estate and winery friendship.


Continuum on the road

Filed under: Events — burke @ 6:28 pm


Continuum May 1, 2010

Continuum on the road

Cabernet for Connoisseurs 2014

Family House’s 19th Annual Cabernet Tasting, Dinner and Auction
Friday February 7, 2014
St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco


Premiere Napa Valley

Pritchard Hill and the Culinary Institute of America

February 21-22, 2014


High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Atlanta, Georgia

March 27-30, 2014


Nantucket Wine Festival

Nantucket, Massachusetts

May 15-19, 2013


Napa Valley Vintners Wine Auction

Napa Valley

June 5-8, 2014


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