Being two weeks later than what we’ve become accustomed to changes the psychology of Harvest. Harvest crew members, brought in early as a hedge against a normal timing, deal with anxiety by drinking lots of coffee in morning and beer in the evening, and washing stainless steel things over-and-over. Forklift training gets practice time on empty bins. New barrels and tanks get proper preparation, rather than normal, last-minute scurrying. And, Mike and I get to meditate on actively waiting, with equanimity and conviction it will work out perfectly, rather than running to keep up as in prior years.

But now the flood walls are breached and we begin to see Pinot gris and Chardonnay taking over both presses, for more than single shifts per day. Pinot noir green flags have dropped and the last of Stoller fruit and the first of Corral Creek are coming in today and tomorrow. We can even anticipate Ridgecrest fruit’s ripeness enough to project picking a week from now.

Fruit and juice quality so far is very good, with a little botrytis on whites, but with general excellent condition, with great acidities and good flavors and spices, and with red wine colors unusually being evident even on the conveyor during sorting. Again, great acidity in reds and soon we’ll know about ferment aromas and health, as our first Pinot noir cold soak is kicked off and actively fermenting.

The Harvest Crew is talented, high spirited and ready to dig into Harvest 2005:

  • Pip Battley: Welcome Pip back to Oregon, having worked with Cheryl and Sam at Francis Tannahill Harvest 2004. She is ultimately self-assured and is taking a lead role this year, having a foot-up (oops, leg-up) arriving two months early from New Zealand to help in the cellar. With a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University, she has worked at Mountford Estate, Martinborough, and Gibbston Valley. She has taken away part of my forklift fruit rotation and dumping responsibilities, and I’m spitting mad. What if I had nothing to justify my time here?
  • Jane Carlson: A Kiwi with dual degrees from University of Canterbury in Chemistry and Philosophy, with a postgraduate degree in Oenology and Viticulture from Lincoln University, Jane has worked at Delegats and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Rosemount Estate in Australia. She is at home in the lab, but shows a group spirit as well, as we rotate everything from washing bins to punchdowns.
  • Katie Kamilos: Katie is the other Oregonian on-crew, hailing from Newberg and a Business and Econ major from George Fox University. Intrigued by work internship with Rob Stuart in McMinnville, she has worked wine service in restaurant at The Dundee Bistro and wanted the full Harvest experience here this year. The spritely, assertive and energetic components are off-the-scale with Katie and the rest of this year’s crew!
  • Matt Nienaber: One of two who are homegrown Oregonians, Matt is graduating in August from Portland State University with an Honors BS Biology/Chem degree and anticipates medical school after a short break–but, NO we aren’t about to call him Doctor. As well as full-time college, Matt worked ongoing jobs in labs at OHSU and PSU. He had enough extra time to co-captain one of the best Dragon Boat teams on the West Coast, Zamboanga.
  • Jeremy Trathen: Also from New Zealand, Jeremy has a degree in Viticulture and wine production from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 2004, having worked before, during and since at well-known wineries and vineyards such as Neudorf, Greenhough, Highfield Estate, Grove Mill and Woollaston Estates. His brother earlier worked harvest in Oregon and is now in New England starting a wine venture. Jeremy is The Iceman, shoveling dry ice during Pinot noir destemming, and has a prodigious mullet.

With a crew this ready, we can sail with whatever tide floats our boat.


Weather Today
Cooler high sixties temperatures dominate, with foggy or overcast weather over the last few days and into the end of next week, with an exceptional quarter inch of rain Friday-Saturday of this week.

The relative dryness and soundness of fruit gives adequate hangtime for full flavor development.

Cooler low sixties and damp weather expected a week from Friday.