This morning under cold blue skies and a waning moon we began our harvest in earnest by picking two Pinot Noir blocks and two Chardonnay blocks at the de Lancellotti vineyard.
This long dry warm spell that we have so enjoyed is yielding fruit with great concentration but the acids are falling quickly and the sugars are rising rapidly with the younger vines and so it is time to bring them in while they are still in balance.
We are beginning to see some sites where the canopies are yellowing severely and the fruit is shriveling, much like 2003, 2006 and 2009….. hmmmmm… see a pattern here? All year long I have been predicting that 2012 would follow the three year heat pattern that we have seen over the past decade. And yes this vintage has been warm and dry, but we are tracking precisely with 2008 and 2002, not with the hotter vintages of 2009, 2006 and 2003. This is exciting news as those two vintages were classics.
The big difference is that we haven’t had the serious Easterly winds with the drastically high temperatures that we saw in those years which tended to shrivel fruit and create an amarone-like process on the vine, but it is dry and warm and yesterday was quite breezy and so I think that the entire Willamette Valley will be in full harvest mode this week and reaching a fever pitch of picking by the weekend if not sooner.
Our team is happy and has settled in to their full time work routine and at this point everyone has that Disney- like twinkle in their eyes. In three weeks their eyes will sparkle less and twitch more, three weeks after that they will be bloodshot, droopy and trying to find a happy place or maybe even daydreaming about why they signed up for this job in the first place and seriously questioning their current career pursuit of being a winemaker. Yes, we are locked and loaded and ready for a long haul, and it is sure to be an interesting one. They always are. But at least the sun is shining.
Tomorrow we will pick Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and later this week we will bring in Anderson Family Vineyard Chardonnay, Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir (yes that’s right! A new wine club wine is on the horizon!) And we will also pick the Winery Block Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
And for those of you who are coming to the winery this weekend for Sold Out our annual Wine Club Harvest Dinner Series, you will actually get to see some fruit in tanks this year, and perhaps, after enough glasses of 2010 Homage Pinot Noir we can convince you to jump up on a tank and do some punch-downs!
Until then, pray for steady weather and no warm winds from the East.