October 2nd 2003

This is typically the time of year that we start thinking about harvesting our first pinots. Marginal climates like Oregon and Burgundy historically have pushed physiological ripeness to the edge of the season, forcing winegrowers to pick their fruit from the vine with rain on the horizon and cold weather approaching. Well, that’s what they say anyway . . . The last week we have had sweltering heat and strong east winds with temperatures in some vineyards peaking at 100+° F. The winds were relentless on young vines, dehydrating the fruit quickly, which resulted in a fast spike of sugar production. We had to move quickly. Over the past few days we have brought in 90% of our pinot noirs with only the old vines of the mighty Hyland vineyard left to hang. Everything is arriving at the winery ultra-ripe with brix levels at °24 – °28, but the acids remain honest, which is a godsend.

We started with Shea then moved quickly to De Lancellotti, one of our estate vineyards. The fruit was carefully sorted through to remove sunburned berries which give a “burnt” characteristic to wine. The Bergström vineyard was harvested next, followed by Stoller, Broadly, Arcus, Palmer, Creek, Montazi and some pinot gris from the Bresslers and Five Mountains. What an extraordinary effort! Friends and family poured into the winery to lend their hands as we harvested, destemmed and quickly cooled down 50 tons of pinot noir in five short days. Now the clouds are coming in and the winery is calm. Shea and Stoller tanks are slowly starting to show signs of life as their fermentations build, coming out of a tranquil cold soak. Colors are tremendous and flavors are intense. In the next few days we look forward to receiving the rest of Hyland Vineyard, Wahle pinot gris and chardonnay, and Stoller chardonnay. See you then!

photos & beer courtesy of Jay MacDonald

Posted in Harvest 2003.