We started the harvest for the 2010 vintage today. Hard to believe, but this is our 17th vintage at Long Meadow Ranch.
We've learned a lot over the years, but every harvest is unique. This year is no exception.
Our unusually cool summer has most of our grapes ripening very slowly and the standard forecast among Napa Valley winemakers is "two to three weeks late."
In the case of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, we didn't expect to be harvesting for another week to ten days. Last year our first pick was on August 17th. Well, last week we had temperatures of about 111 degrees in our San Mateo Vineyard over a three day hot spell. So, the Sauvignon Blanc grapes were suddenly ready to go.
We started at dawn this morning and picked almost 14 tons of beautiful cold fruit. Bin temperature was about 45 degrees, which reflects our very cool nights, and is great for wine quality. Then, it was off to the winery to get it into a tank while still cool.
We "whole cluster" pressed the grapes in a gigantic press this afternoon - all 14 tons at once. So, now the juice is safely in a tank (sparged with CO2 to protect it from oxygen) and will soon be ready to ferment. Tomorrow it will be back the vineyards for more grapes.
There is nothing like the anticipation of the new vintage. We are all looking forward to seeing what this season brings us. Right now, we're fresh and excited. But, we'll be harvesting from now until late October. Then, we'll be tired and, hopefully, very pleased.
Posted by Ted Hall