There is a point in every vintage where you think you can’t do anymore, spend anymore time in the winery, cope with a floor of harvesting, destemming, dropping tanks to press, pressing whites, hunting for settling tanks to no avail, punching down every fermentation tank in the place, prepping barrel sets for red pressed wines, filling barrels and jockeying for position to stow barrels somewhere, anywhere.
And then the first tank opens up that doesn’t need to be refilled and it’s downhill from there, time being freed as quickly as it was consumed a week or more before. We are at that point now, with 16+ hour days now shrinking to 12 and later this week to 8 or 10. And then we will be looking for things to do. Even Mike is taking time off.
In summary, a condensed harvest all around the valley, with huge percentages at some of our neighbors’ coming in in single days (up to 50%). The spectre of rain does that to you. Also, the report on quality is similar with our friends, very good wines despite rain, with early picked warmer sites faring very well and later vineyards showing more variability based on vineyard elevations, farming practices and cropload, but in general being astonishingly sound and possibly even excellent. That will be determined later as we see wines from barrel after clarification. Stay tuned.
One thing for sure, no matter how incongruously good the vintage ends up being, winery personnel will not remember this as a lawnchair and beer break vintage. We need a few like that to fight complacency.
Significant rain — 3.4 inches Wednesday thru Saturday — are now being followed by a promised 4-5 days of dry and warmer temperatures. This bodes well for the botrytis affected Riesling we have hanging in three blocks. We may for the first time in several years be able to sort a Late Harvest portion from the Dry Riesling fruit. Harvesting late week is likely, finishing our 2007 Harvest in the vineyard.