Our Ridgecrest Vineyards was the first vineyard planted on what would become the Ribbon Ridge AVA, purchasing the land in 1980 and beginning planting in Spring 1982. And it all came to fruition in 1985 with our first harvest. On September 23rd we began picking Pinot Noir from our oldest block there and by tomorrow, October 1st, we’ll have the harvest complete.
Many things have changed since Harvest 1985, number ONE. Most are good and normal, like white hair, more pounds, tighter vineyard spacing, better and better grapes and wines with vine age, new labels, Stelvin closures rather than cork, and Wynne doing great winemaking rather than “when are we going home” whine-making at 5 years of age!
Ridgecrest is the source of our Reserve Pinot Noir, as well as single vineyard, Statement, and a good portion of 3 Vineyard Pinot Noirs. It carries the red-to-black fruited profile of Ribbon Ridge AVA and can range from ultimately elegant to structured, depending on vintage and winemaking elements such as whole cluster use.
Our other vineyards are exceptional, with specialties including Chardonnay at Stoller (the best Chardonnay vineyard in the state) and Riesling at Corral Creek.
We’re in a rhythm in the vineyard and winery, still daily pressing 4 loads of whites and consumed with Pinot Noir at varied stages of processing, all fermentors being full and new fruit picked and coming in to fill the open space made by ferments ending and being pressed. With only 16 days into harvesting, we are over 80% complete, so this is “Fast and Furious” harvest, with long hours and little time off, but soon we’ll be done—and likely the earliest completion to Crush ever!
Please celebrate 30 Harvests with us,
Weather and Its Implications
The heat has now subsided, but the sun remains, with all but a handful of days bright. We’ve seen 1.33 inches of rain in all of September, the average of the last 7 years almost exactly. The heat accumulation has reached a record high for my CDD records, now at 2552 degree days through September. Cool dry ripening is anticipated for the next 2 weeks, so the last blocks of Pinot Noir and especially Riesling will slide gently into the end of harvest.