Our last Pinot Noir was Maresh and Temperance Hill Vineyards, on the 21st of October. The last white wines to be harvested were Wren Chardonnay and Cherry Grove Riesling on the 22 nd of October (2 weeks later than in 2004!) The last vineyards to give up their fruit to the winery were showing signs that the year was quickly drawing to an end and that winter is definitely on its way. Fruit fell from the stem with a light touch of the hand and every part of the grapevine which is usually green (stem, seed and branch) have long been brown and lignified. Botrytis and other molds were now growing in places where we did not want them to grow. Yet flavors, colors and technological numbers (Brix, PH and TA) were all staying balanced and attractive. Now that the sorting table and destemmer have been sanitized and put to rest for the year, the press is now busy every day and stained a dark purple. Fermentations are finishing up and the new wine is being bled off of the skins and stems into new awaiting French oak barrels in our new barrel cellar. These new wines are showing great promise for the future. So far, we have pressed off all of the Shea Vineyard, Bergström Vineyard, most of de Lancellotti, Broadley and Parish Hill. We still have several Palmer Creek , Hyland, Vigna Giovanni and Nysa tanks to go. The next 10 days will see the completion of most fermentations and the barrel cellar will be filled.
Meanwhile, the white wines are slowly bubbling away. It has been a cool enough vintage that I have let the white wines ferment outdoors. The cold nights and cool days will ensure a long and complex fermentation for all of these wines. We should see the Chardonnays finish fermentation first in the next couple of weeks and then the Pinot Gris and Riesling which won’t finish their fermentations until January or February!
Yesterday, our harvest intern, Matt Evans from Gibbston Valley in Central Otago New Zealand , left for home, after two and a half long months of working at Bergström. This is the second year that Matt has worked for us as our assistant winemaker at harvest time and he has really been a key part of our family operation. Thanks Matt! If any of you readers get a chance to visit the Central Otago region of New Zealand , make sure that you swing by Gibbston Valley and say hi, they are making some real world-class wines there.
The next harvest journal will be the final entry for the year. I will list the wines which were made and give initial tasting notes and my thoughts on where they will end up one year from now. It has been a great year but a long and challenging one. We can’t thank enough all of the men and women who help to manage our vineyards and vineyard contracts. It was a difficult year in the vineyards and the hard work paid off. Also, friends and clients who helped out throughout the harvest with sorting help, punchdown talent, and of course food and company. Cheers.