Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ZD's First Day of Harvest

The first day of Harvest!

We have officially joined the Harvest hum that has been buzzing around the Valley for a few weeks with our Pinot Noir. Picked in the wee hours yesterday morning at the deLeuze Family Vineyard in Carneros, our incredible team hand-harvested the small, tight clusters of perfectly ripe Pinot Noir grapes.

Walking among the vines in the cool hours of early morning, spirits were up as the vineyard crew expertly snipped the grapes and added them to bins attached to our biodiesel tractor. Once the truck began delivering the grapes back to the winery in Rutherford, the cellar crew got to work in the unrelenting heat of yesterday’s mid-afternoon sun.

As the grapes were loaded off of the truck, ZD staff gathered around to bless the grapes and give thanks for another terrific growing season while raising a glass to the Harvest ahead. We toasted with 2007 Founder’s Reserve Pinot Noir in memory of our Founder, Norman deLeuze, an incredible wine and the perfect foundation for the Pinot Noir grapes. Then it was time to test out the new crush equipment. Chris, our Winemaker, did the honors as he gently dumped the first bin of Pinot Noir grapes into the waiting machine.

Like clockwork, the grapes were deftly sorted and destemmed before being pumped directly into the stainless steel tanks for fermentation. Once in motion, a second truck delivered the remaining 8 tons of grapes and the scent of fruit hung heavy in the air.

Meanwhile, the deLeuze family decided to combine tradition with technology and soon enough a grape stomp was under way! The three siblings stomped, taunted, teased and stomped some more as they battled to see who could make the most juice in the shortest amount of time. With juice flying and stony looks of determination, the race to juice superstardom was neck and neck. Suddenly Robert was ahead by a few milliliters, he stomped faster, pounding those grapes into oblivion, and victory was his.

Looking from feet to juice and back again, he decided against drinking his victory libation, but satisfaction could be seen from ear to ear.

Elyse Chambers, ZD Wines

1 comment:

Janet Viader said...

haha. that's a side of brett i haven't seen before: grape-squisher extraordinaire. how clever to do them in half-barrels.