We began picking our estate-grown Chardonnay this morning at Trefethen Family Vineyards. The vineyard and winery team was joined by members of the Trefethen family as the first few grapes came off the vines. This same vineyard block was the first to be picked last year as well - probably because of the clonal selection and because the vines are among our youngest. This particular clone is a field selection of old Wente with a strong floral muscat character. As we walked the block earlier this week, the grapes were practically singing with flavor. Crafting a complex Chardonnay from our estate vineyard depends on having a diverse mix of clones. We actually have 12 different clones of Chardonnay and adding even small amounts of this Wente clone to a blend can have an amazing effect.
Each picking crew has a mascot - note the "tecolote" or owl on the flag in the photo. The tractor flags help the crew leaders follow each crew in the field and this approach has certainly increased the competitive banter during picking!
In 2009, we picked this block on September 8th, just one day earlier than this year. So, although we expect a gradual ramp-up in harvest over the next couple weeks, the timing is well within our historical range. And we continue to be excited about the prospect of fantastic quality.
Cheers to vintage 2010!
Director of Viticulture & Winemaking
Trefethen Family Vineyards