Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The thing so many people forget about the wine industry is that it is an agricultural industry. This means that first and foremost, it is a farming based business. So by nature of the business, this means we live and die by what the year's harvest brings us. This year has been a particularly challenging growing season. We had a cooler than average summer which makes it very difficult for the grapes to fully ripen on the vine. Throughout the growing season, the viticulture team went through the vineyards to perform "leaf pulling". This means they pulled leaves off the vines to make sure the fruit was as exposed to the sun as possible to achieve ripeness. Then in the late summer, we experienced a freak heat wave that was so hot, it burned a lot of the exposed fruit. Normally that fruit would be shaded and protected from the sun's harsh rays, but not this year. The heat spike only lasted 2 days, but the result was sunburned fruit.
This is not the end of hope however, it just means a lot more work for vineyard crew. When it came time to pick Sauvignon Blanc a couple weeks ago (21 days later than past years) the crew had to first make a pass through the vineyard and remove all the sunburned/shriveled grapes. They then went back through to pick the rest of the clusters that were ripe, and if there were a few sunburned grapes left on the cluster, the picking crews removed those grapes carefully before throwing them in the picking bins.
This is a textbook case of what we call "precision farming"; it can be very time consuming and expensive, but the results are worth all of the extra effort.
So as of now, we have harvested most of our Sauvignon Blanc, and a little Petit Verdot. We are still waiting on our Cabernet Sauvignon to get fully ripened, and these warm Indian Summer days are definitely helping things along. Stay tuned for more harvest updates and see more pictures on our facebook page!