October 9, 2012
We can't remember a better harvest and vintage since we started in the Oregon wine industry. The picking window was wide open and the flavor development and sugars were right on target with a "normal" Oregon harvest date, the first or second week of October. We leisurely applied the nets but the bird pressure was light and we didn't feel the need to panic like the previous two seasons.
The warm Indian Summer was spectacular, not only for grape growers, but for all Oregonians it was a well deserved span of dry warm days in September and a gentle start to October and the threat of rain was not hanging over our heads. What a gift to boast of ripe, clean fruit and little or no need for sorting on the crush line. We had to watch dehydration from the drying winds toward the end but it wasn't anything to lose sleep over.
October 9, we harvested early morning and were done picking by noon, quickly ran through the destemmer into the fermenters and the pumpovers were done by 4:00pm and we were on our way home! What a great day! I wish they are all like this!!
November 1, 2011
Harvest Day! It is bitter cold and we can see our breath as we start up the tractor. The coldest harvest we've seen in Oregon and we hope the fruit has held up. The crew arrives around 11:00am and starts clipping clusters and filling their buckets. As we sling the clusters into the bins, we are pleased at the condition of the fruit and know we can make great wine! What a relief after a nail biting season! We have harvested both blocks by 2:00pm and start heading for the winery.
The winery is impatiently awaiting our arrival and we are told to step on it! We arrive with numb limbs; our toes are frozen and we still need to sort the fruit before it becomes to dark out to do a thorough job. The fruit looks great as we turn over each cluster along with four other sorters on the line. We are proud of our bounty and count up the weigh sheets totalling 5 tons! A sigh of relief when all the fermentors are put to bed for the night. We drive back home to take a scalding hot shower to thaw our frozen limbs only to scream in pain as the stinging in our fingers and toes remind us of the cold day we had just endured. We smile to ourselves in relief as the hot water runs down our back, knowing another growing season comes to an end.
October 15, 2011
Wow! The fruit looks so great this year - the best we've ever seen on our site. The skins are starting to soften and bleed red in the Pommard block and the 115 flavors are developing nicely. The acids are still high and masks the flavors a bit but the seeds are chewing nicely and the overall picture is good. A harvest day prediction is still too early to say but the clusters look great. The nets are done and the birds are hovering. Jim, Bell and Sam are on bird patrol today and the cannons are going off all around us! Harvest is such a fun and yet physically exhausting time.........like skiing all day and taking your boots off to get into the hot tub! You earned it baby!!!!!
October 8, 2011
Hanging nets!! Two weeks ago, eight miles of bird netting lay in front of us and today we are almost done! The birds are hanging out above us in the fir trees, waiting for the grapes to ripen a few more degrees. We can hear them fluttering above our heads as we walk through each row covering the perfectly formed clusters with fine netting. The spiders have elegantly strung their webs across the rows at eye level and we cringe every time we are caught in the face by a newly formed web. As we violently throw off our hats and shake out our hair and clothing, we notice the spider crawling off to the side and taking refuge on a leaf.
Why are we doing this? TO SAVE OUR GRAPES!! The midnight blue clusters are glistening in the sun as they hang on the vine so beautifully, like a romantic fresco painting; it is brillant to see in person.
Jim would rather be watching college ball. Jacob and Rachel would rather be doing "anything" else. Bella and Sam are in heaven enjoying the excitement of vineyard activity and I will make them all a great dinner!