Enjoy the sixth story from Brittany Komm, Senior Viticulturist for Precept Wine.
The craziness of the harvest continued.
What would typically be the month that all chaos breaks loose turned into a month of a lot of nail-biting, several uncomfortable talks with winemakers, along with a lot of hurry up and wait; and that was just a glimpse of what was taking place behind the scenes. Out in the vineyards we were scrambling (but were we really?) to get yield estimates completed, dropping crop at the Walla Walla property since it just started veraison in the Merlot on September 1, putting the finishing touches on harvest equipment, and removing leaves from the fruiting zone at all our other vineyard properties.
The day finally came, September 11: we fired up the harvesters and went to work. Harvest kicked off at our Willow Crest property located in the heart of the Yakima Valley with some Chardonnay that was destined for a sparkling program. We normally start picking for sparkling somewhere between the second and third weeks of August; if reading that still didn’t put into perspective how late of year this truly was, then maybe this will. We finally kicked off our still wine harvest on September 29 at our Skyfall Vineyard with Sauvignon Blanc—which would in an average vintage be picked Labor Day or just right after! While the Sauvignon Blanc on this farm was running a good month behind the “normal,” the Chardonnay we also picked that day there was only running approximately 2.5 weeks behind the average pick date for that variety. At our Skyfall property there are a couple of blocks that require handpicking for both stylistic and safety reasons. It is always a fun day to be out with the crew when this is happening. They are all always so upbeat and enthusiastic, no matter how cold and how hard the wind may be blowing that morning!
The craziness of the harvest continued. I may have mentioned in an earlier story that yield estimates were proving to be a challenge. In some of the photos I am sharing, you will see whole vine harvests with the clusters laid out side-by-side. I did this on several vines that were all planted in the same row in consecutive order. The number of clusters and the size of the clusters that each vine was carrying varied greatly. In the end, we figured it out and got it done.
Going to keep this one short and sweet this month since there is so much going on. Stay tuned for more. This is just the beginning!
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