We have received about 80% of our grapes. This equates to 17 days of picking, about 76 press loads of various sizes and 228 hours of pressing. That said, this has been a very relaxing harvest. The peculiar thing about harvest 2010 thus far is that the ripening of the grapes has not been normal; the question must be posed what is normal? The true answer is we don’t know, its agriculture and we must take what Mother Nature throws at us - although we like what she has thrown so far, a long and cool growing season, with the grapes taking their sweet time getting ripe.
We had the big push at the beginning, and the pressure was building in the cellar with the overwhelming feeling of too many grapes and not enough tank space. This is a problem we encounter each and every harvest, at the beginning of harvest there is lots of money in the bank per-se, as all the tanks are empty with ample space to receive the freshly pressed juices . As the days add up and the ATM machine of empty tanks is depleted and we are definitely running in the red trying to keep up.
The 3rd week of harvest was about to begin when out of nowhere we had this cooling trend and slight rain incident - fortunately the rain was negligible. Due to the weather we took a one week hiatus from harvesting grapes; this is unheard of at Schramsberg, and truthfully it was a relief. Many of the juices have now made the transformation from juice to wine, and the cellar crew was able to catch up on barrel work, wine movements and most importantly sleep. The winery has also benefited from the break as the crew has made fewer mistakes, meaning less people wearing the harvest dress, although the dress is awaiting its next victim.
Harvest is on again, with some of our best chardonnay and pinot noir vineyards on the cusp of peak ripeness for sparkling wine. The Schramsberg harvest is long, due to the diversity of our cool climate vineyard sources. It takes patience, dedication and hours in the car to visit our 90 + vineyards NUMEROUS!!! times for sampling and tasting grapes prior to making picking decision, especially this year as the grapes are taking their time getting ripe. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however the tunnel is long and the remaining 20% of the grapes to come in will likely take twice as long as the first 80%.
Till next time here's some photos of our most recent recipient's of the harvest dress.