Today is Wednesday September 25th and just like that it is halftime. One hundred and twelve tons of fruit have been picked by hand out of 7 different vineyards and carefully carried up Calkins Lane to our winery where we have sorted, destemmed and filled all of our shiny stainless steel fermentation tanks. We have picked all 13 acres of the Bergstrom Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, half of the Le Pre du Col Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, half of Silice and all of the Winery Block in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and half of the Shea Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton. We have also picked our one acre blocks of Chardonnay at Carabella and Anderson Family Vineyards. Eighty tons of fruit still sit on the vine. The forecast is good for this upcoming week and we are currently seeing rain showers and much colder weather. It now definitely feels like fall in the Willamette Valley.
The fruit which came in was ripe and ready to pick after having spent 100+ days on the vine since bloom. Acids were falling fairly quickly although the brix levels this year are not high which makes me very happy. I always worry in dry warm years that the sugar levels will outpace the acidity free-fall and the resulting musts may need to be adjusted to achieve balanced wines. This year we are looking at pH’s at 3.3-3.4 for Pinot Noir and Brix levels of around 22 which is like a dream come true. The flavors are fresh and bright and the fruit smells like candy. We have filled 75 barrels of Chardonnay juice and they the indigenous yeasts from the vineyards are slowly beginning to kick off those fermentations. The quality of Chardonnay looks especially high this year.
We pushed hard for 5 straight days of picking and sorting and now we have taken a small break to let the storms pass through. During this break we also have taken two days to bottle some 2012 wines and prepare for our annual harvest dinner series for our wine club members. We have never put on our annual harvest dinners this deep into the middle of harvest, so it will be very fun and very cozy as we pack 100+ people each night over two nights in our cellars.
As the storms pass through we prepare to pick the last half of Shea and Le Pre du Col, a few acres of Silice, Gregory Ranch, Croft and Temperance Hill as well as nurture along the 40+ fermentations that are bubbling away peacefully under shelter.