Grape clusters

Around mid-summer we saw the first sign that harvest season was near: veraison! Veraison is when the red grape varietals start to change color from green to purple. We started seeing veraison in our vineyards towards the end of July.

Harvesting grapes at nighttime

Night harvest of Sauvignon Blanc in early September – Rutherford Estate

Harvest began at our Rutherford Estate with a late night pick of Sauvignon Blanc on August 26th. We pick Sauvignon Blanc at night because the cooler temperatures keep the grapes firmer and more stable, which is optimal for processing and fermentation. Our Sauvignon Blanc vineyards were picked over period of about one month.

Our team was on the move with a lot of ground to cover as our Anderson Valley Estate harvest of Chardonnay started on September 6th.

Hands holding grapes

Anderson Valley Estate Winemaker, Stéphane Vivier, checks the quality of the Chardonnay grapes in the harvest bin after they have been picked.

Man drinking wine

Stéphane does a daily tank walk to quality check each tank of Rosé of Pinot Noir as it ferments.

Large containers of grapes during harvest

Early morning Merlot harvest – Rutherford Estate

In early October, it was time to harvest our Merlot and Sangiovese. We have Merlot planted at both our estates, and the Sangiovese is all in Peter’s Vineyard, located on our Mayacamas Estate, at 1000ft.

Prior to harvesting the grapes, our crew goes through the vineyard and removes all leaves in the fruit zone. They do this so that no leaves mix with the fruit in the large bins, allowing for a cleaner pick of the fruit.

Cabernet Sauvignon is always last to be harvested, as this grape varietal takes the longest to ripen. We harvested our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards up until the 1st of November, with the Cabernet Sauvignon at our Rutherford Estate being the final pick.

Harvesting grapes at Bear Canyon Long Meadow Ranch

Arturo, crew lead, keeping bins clear of leaves during a morning pick of Cabernet Sauvignon – Mayacamas Estate

Moving grapes from tractor to production facility

Cellar Master, Isaac loading grapes into the crusher/destemmer

Man standing on a ladder in order to move grapes to ferment

Crushpad – Mayacamas Estate Winery

Winemaker, Justin Carr, and intern, Ben Buckingham, on the crushpad, crushing Sangiovese, harvested from the Mayacamas Estate vineyard. Grape clusters are loaded into the crusher destemmer, to separate the grapes from their stems.

Wine processing equipment

Post destemming, the berries and juice are headed into fermentation bins

Wine production after harvest

Small batch fermentation begins

Harvest time at Rutherford Vineyard

November 1, the last day of harvest