Harvest is always a time to welcome new members to our family, as we assemble a great team from around the world and over the next two months watch them anneal themselves into a hardened group that knows what each other is thinking and how they can help each other. All this working exhausting hours and having a day off only sporadically. All this as brand-new friends, housed mostly together in the Chehalem House, and being strained and drained to the point of fraying. A case study in team development and high-performing team dynamics.

Rejoining us from Harvest 2008 is the very versatile and Renaissance man, Greg Martin, who as you remember is a restaurant chef, makes wine and beer, plays multiple musical instruments, has a band and who knows what else. He is cheerful (after a cup of coffee in the morning) and the core of the team.

Beth Forrest brings a can-do spirit, again a positive and sunny disposition, and experience in the New Zealand industry to Chehalem’s crew. She was born into a Marlborough wine family (Forrest Wines, Renwick) and recently received her Masters in Oenology from Roseworthy, in Australia. She has recently worked harvest in Central Otago at Peregrine. Beth is stable, up for any job, quick to keep things going and light, and loves my Huskies (as do the other Chehalem Housemates).

Merritt Kain brings the rest of the world with him, having lived everywhere, having worked in several disciplines — including again restaurants, such as The French Laundry — and most recently harvest down under at Craggy Range on New Zealand’s north island. He hails from Austin, Texas where he graduated from UT with a degree in geography, appropriate considering his growing up in all countries with oil fields. A little quieter than Beth and Greg, Merritt always seems to have a slight smile and is ready with a wry comment. All this with hard work. A great sense of humor.

Tim Getz comes from our sister wine region in Washington, Walla Walla, where he’s worked harvest with several wineries while attending the Associate’s Degree program at Walla Walla Community College, a great wine program in preparing wine personnel for the Northwest wine industry. He brings George, a new black lab friend for the Huskies and Wynne’s Holden. When it gets dark and they’re still in the running pen, they at least have each other, even if they haven’t eaten on-time yet. Tim is ready to grab the forklift anytime I leave the seat for a quick errand. A good positive spirit and hard worker.

This crew is, of course, anchored by the Chehalem threesome, Ksenija Kostic House, beginning her third harvest; Wynne Peterson-Nedry, her first in full-time employ at Chehalem; and Mike Eyres, beginning his ninth harvest at Chehalem, having joined us as an intern in 2001 and becoming the face of Chehalem wine over the years (a seeming lifetime, I’m sure to Mike).


Weather So Far and Today

Perfect fall weather–chilly nights in the upper 30s, sunny blue-skied highs in the low 70s. We have systematically used the great weather to let each block hang to a point of perfect ripening.

And at this point, with a number of normal mid-late October squalls heading in on Tuesday or Wednesday, we’ll be in good shape with almost 85% of our entire forecast in the house by Tuesday. This leaves only a couple blocks of Pinot Noir at Corral Creek, a Pinot Noir trial block at Ridgecrest and Riesling at all vineyards, which awaits a normal late October pick.