Grape Harvest 2011

Olive harvest is still about a month away, but our grape harvest is in full swing. Here's an update on the state of the grapes from our Nursery and Vineyard Manager, Samantha Dorsey:

Overall, this year’s crop has been light from the start due to the youth of our vines and wet weather during bloom. After the late spring rains, however, we moved into a very mild summer that has been ideal for unhurried and composed fruit development. Overall, we expect about 8 tons of grapes this year, roughly twice the amount of last year. In the recent rains, all of our varietals reacted differently, but Pinot noir, always the delicate one, was the most vulnerable to the elements. Last Friday we harvested the remainder of our Pinot crop, about 3.22 tons. Tuesday we picked our "teinturier" grape, Alicante Bouschet, known for its intense red juice, foliage and skins. This cross of Grenache and Petite Bouschet produces a lighter bodied wine making it an excellent blending grape. Our Montepulciano is sweetening up a bit, but the seeds are still green. If the warmer weather continues, we may be harvesting in two weeks. Our Syrah has done well and only a small fraction of the berries have been adversely affected by the rain. We have sprayed a baccilus subtillis mixture to arrest fungal development and it has been extremely effective. It will be a close call to ripen our Syrah and late-season grapes after this late spring and cool summer, but as confirmed by raccoons and birds, the sugar levels are getting higher by the day. Our Grenache is slowest of the bunch, but we hope to be harvesting by the beginning of November.... These last few weeks before harvest are precarious when the fruit is at its tastiest and most fragile. The final gauntlet that each grape must run to the winery includes hungry raccoons and turkeys, voracious yellow jackets and ants, marauding songbirds, unremitting mold spores, and bloating rain; not to mention that the clusters are being ripened by leaves that are now at the end of their useful lives and would rather retire than photosynthesize. It is exactly at this moment, when the fruit is at its highest demand that it has the potential to turn into the finest wine. For a a few more shots from our latest grape harvest, check out our Facebook album. Cheers!