Although the beginning of the fruiting period began with separation of sites during flowering, we are ending with a compressed period for harvest. The differences of 2 weeks or more disappeared because of reduced cropload due to a hail event and slightly poorer set on normally later vineyard sites like Ridgecrest and Wind Ridge, which accelerated ripening there. The full cropload at Stoller and Corral Creek was welcome, but the fruit is all in within 16 total picking days (with the exception of two blocks or Riesling).
At this point, we have only 6 or 7 Pinot Noir fermentors actually fermenting and nothing red has completed fermentation and been pressed out. It has been unusual but refreshing to have two phases to Harvest—Picking and Fermentation. Usually they are intertwined, with more chaotic activity in both arenas. We have nice long cold soaks, but as they begin heating, active fermentation, pressing and barreling down, we will have hell to pay.
Whites have looked excellent this year, with ripeness, decent pHs and great fruit health. Volumes are good and the intitial ferments look very healthy.
Reds look great, with fully ripe fruit (flavors, lignification, acids/pH, and sugar), perfect health—NO botrytis at all—and long cold soaks which are yielding deeply saturated juices even before the heat of fermentation bumps extraction. Being an acid freak, I might love a bit more acid and a little less alcohol, but that’s quibbling. I’ll let you know where they end up—they’ll be excellent, I’m sure, as we tweak tartaric concentrations a bit for healthy ferments.
Vines are now yellowing, but aren’t dropping leaves. Normal tree leaf drops have not happened which is later than normal. It is reassuring the Fall rains have begun, especially since only Riesling remains to pick. Cool nights are creeping in and the tight winery crew is taking an hour off to recharge batteries. Long days now will only get longer as late night punchdowns begin to dominate.
Lovely weather, lovely wines.
Weather and Its Implications
Rains began 8 days ago with 0.8 inches on the 12th, the first real rain since late June (0.24 in. since then) and over the last eight days 2.37 inches have fallen sporadically. Eighty-eight tons of fruit have been picked since then, in good conditions and with fruit continuing in great shape, fruit ranging from last PN blocks, last Chardonnay, and first Riesling to Gamay noir, Pinot blanc and Gruner veltliner. Some Riesling we still have hanging, such as our Mother Block at Wind Ridge and the lower Corral Creek block.
Rains are forecast to be around for most of the next 10 days, so we will likely bring Riesling in soon.