Harvest alarm clock ticking in Sierra Foothills Vineyards

Vintners have an internal clock that’s starts ticking at fruit set. This typically happens mid May for our vineyard. That tick, tick, tick turns into an alarm bell at veraison, typically August 1st for our vineyard.

The Tempranillo graces us with beautiful color and reminds me, crush is just weeks away. This in fact means I have way to much to do and not enough time to get it done. Think fast wabbit, bugs bunny used to say in a tough spot.

So many decisions that have been made starting last fall and are still being made right now by vineyard managers and winemakers to ensure the quality of their harvests, do I or don’t I water, will we drop fruit now, wait a week, go with tonnage because the market and economy is showing signs of life.

Like all business you must have a plan and stick to the plan no matter what mother nature throws at ya.

Currently we have been dropping fruit in the vineyard, taking shoulders off the Tempranillo, thinning the almighty Grenache and hedging the vines, preparing them for netting soon to come… The fruit is incredible this year! Small berries with very regular set, long loose Syrah clusters and smaller than average Grenache clusters. I am very optimistic about the quality for 2012 in our vineyard.

We net the vineyard when sugars in the fruit start to reach a brix level in the teens, it is at this time the birds come and do damage to the clusters. The exception is Tempranillo, the birds love it, the minute it shows color, no matter how tart. They savor it, like I do a fine steak on my plate.

The clusters damaged by the birds are unusable as yeasts and bacteria from the skins and now juices from pecked berries start a microbiological experiment that we want no part of in our wine.  Keeping the birds away gives us the opportunity to make more cases for you to enjoy!

Stay tuned, for part two in this story “how we let the natural or indigenous yeast on the grapes do their thing” and if you have any questions about what you read here on this page, feel free to email me anytime.

Blue Skies


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