Today is Friday October 28th, 2011 and we are right in the middle of this harvest.  So far we have brought in about 110 tons of fruit from our most precocious vineyard blocks in the Bergstrom Vineyard, de Lancellotti, Shea, the Winery Block, as well as all of Le Pre du Col vineyard and about one third of our Chardonnay from Anderson Family Vineyard, Carabella, de Lancellotti and the Winery Block.

The first week of harvest was very busy and we put in five 18-hour days in a row as we brought in our most ripe fruit.  The Bergstrom Vineyard and de Lancellotti Vineyard early picks were slow to sort but the overall quality of the juice and musts is high, so I am optimistic.  The Winery block also looked good and we decided to implement 50% whole clusters in this cuvee which is the first time that we have used so many whole bunches since 2005 and I am also happy about how that is looking and smelling.  We also included whole cluster in the Shea fruit.

The earliest pick from Shea Vineyard came from Block 9 which is one of our two Wadenswil clone blocks on the East Hill.  This is our ripest block every year and so it was harvested on October 23rd.  The rest of Shea Vineyard will be harvested on Halloween and again on November 4th!  I can’t believe that I am scheduling picking dates on November 4th (Temperance Hill is also scheduled for that date.)

The rain arrived this afternoon and it is expected to fall overnight and then clear up again in the morning giving way to one more week of great weather.  It is during this final window that we plan on harvesting our higher elevation and coolest sites such as; Temperance Hill Vineyard, The Gregory Ranch, our final blocks of Shea and the rest of our Chardonnay. Three weeks ago, I was worried we would not see these vineyards come in this year….. oh me of little faith.

The Pinot Noir juices are soaking up with deep colors and lovely aromas.  The Chardonnay juices are simply delicious and I am beginning to truly become excited about this vintage.  But we have a long way to go.   Only two tanks are fermenting at this point and those are the early picks from Shea and Bergstrom Vineyard.  For the most part the winery is cold and still, save for the busy action of weighing, sorting and processing fruit.

Our crew this year is also a lot of fun to work with.  We have three local guys; Justin, Ted and Nick, one local gal named Anne, one transplant from Colorado named Edward and some guest appearances from sales representatives (thanks Jeffrey!) from in and out of state.  So far we are having a great time and enjoying the rush of this harvest.  We are eating and drinking very well thanks to my mom, my wife and Kris Utz at Renaissance catering (Kris’s family owns the Black Walnut Inn in Dundee and he is a great chef who caters weddings, events, private parties etc…..)  The crew’s antics and good nature are keeping me in stitches which is important this time of year. 

A nice shot of most of the crew during our first days of harvest.

Talk to you soon, or see you around the crush pad.