So far, this harvest has been a bit of a roller coaster: it was hot, it was cold, it was rainy and then those weather patterns started all over again. It seems like thing are leveling out and, here at the winery we are getting a little break before a lot more fruit starts rolling in.
The growing season on the whole has been surprisingly early this year. Initially, the summer was very mild, and we thought that the grapes would take their time developing their flavors… Then the heat came in and sent sugar levels way up for a few days. Anything that was sampled at that time seemed way ahead of ‘schedule!’ As we were adjusting to the new revelation, the cool weather returned and even brought some rain with it. Just when we thought we had it figured out, everything changed and ripening slowed way down. So, at this point, we are looking at a tale of two harvests. Almost all of the whites are in and happily fermenting away.
The Carneros Chardonnay are the only white winegrapes left on the vines currently, but it is slated to come in very soon. It sits in the cool valley with more marine layer than sun on some days, so generally speaking this particular vineyard block can hang for a while. All of the Pinot Noir blocks are in the winery as well; most of them are even done with primary fermentation and are now sitting in their round oak homes, where they will live for the next 18 months. Last Sunday, the wine making team arrested the fermentation of the Suisun Valley Riesling, and the 2013 Leannan was born and became the first finished wine of the harvest.
We are going to switch tracks this week and things will pick up very quickly. We have Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, and even some Sangiovese all scheduled to come in and all in the next few days. Things are still running one or two weeks early this year when compared to previous years, and we are thinking that we may be able to have Halloween night off… Weird! I’ll have to tell my fiancée that she can get started on that costume she wants to make for me… Fruit quality is exceptionally high this year. The grapes have had a very good amount of hang time, and so far there is no heat or mildew pressure. Let’s hope that it stays that way as we continue with the 2013 harvest saga. Cheers, and happy harvest!