|Freshly picked Pinot Noir vines at Armstrong Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge|
This cool end of season weather was key to the wine quality this year. Had we seen normal early September weather, in the 80s up to the '90s, things could have been grim. Grapes racing to ripeness, dehydrating and losing elegance and grace.
Instead, we had perfect picking conditions and fruit got to the winery nice and cold, something I never expected with a year this early.
|Please tell me that's all there is!! ;-)|
|Whole cluster Pinot Noir from Armstrong Vineyard|
With more fruit this year, I experimented with a heavy proportion of whole clusters in one fermenter. That means sorting the fruit as usual, but bypassing the destemmer to allow the intact grape clusters into the fermenter. I typically destem the grapes, but I like the effect stems can have on wine texturally and aromatically. We'll see how this one turns out.
|Happy guy in the driver's seat on the fork lift, for hours|
This day we filled 5 fermenters, and once things were all done, around 10pm, I turned the lights off, locked the doors, drove home and thought about doing it all over again tomorrow with the first pick at Crowley Station.
|A bit of interplanted Chardonnay in with the Crowley Station Vineyard Pinot Noir|
The rest of Crowley Station we held off picking for another week and a half. So this was a light fruit day, just 1.5 tons, but as you go through harvest you have the newest fruit to deal with but also all the prior fruit in various stages of fermentation. It starts to add up quickly.
Meanwhile there was planning for day 3, which would bring the first white grapes, Chardonnay from Methven in the Amity Hills. More on that and the rest of harvest next time...