It’s that time of year, and this year it came early.  Mother nature created a situation where the fruit ripened earlier than normal. In fact, in many areas it has been the earliest harvest in history.  What does that mean? You’re guess is as good as mine.  Some people say it will be a stellar year, others are concerned that it will be a poor year.  All I can say at this point is that the fruit was light.  There vines did not produce as much fruit as in the past. But for every cloud there is a silver lining- the fruit that was there is awesome!
Our second vintage had its moments. In case you do not know, we are bi-coastal.  We live and work in New Jersey, but we source fruit from Paso Robles.  You can read our story here. This year’s harvest began with the “early scare.”  With Napa/Sonoma having such an early harvest season and our fruit ripening so quickly, we purchased airline tickets for the first week of October.  Then the temperatures dropped and the ripening slowed down.  Anyone who flies knows, it is not an easy task to change your airline tickets.  $200 later, we had new flights three weeks later.  It was another gamble, but one that paid off.  The fruit was ready when we were there.
You couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.  Look at those
numbers.  Zero percent chance of precipitation and nice daytime temperatures and cool evenings.  If you have been to Paso in the past, you know the temperatures can be over 100!.
Mike flew out on Wednesday, after several hours of a delay- he finally made it into John Wayne Airport.  Then just a short 3 1/2 hour drive to the hotel in San Luis Obispo.
Harvest was scheduled for Friday, October 17th in the am.  On Thursday, Mike had some work to do for the 2013 vintage. We had to move our barrels from where they were being stored in Paso Robles, to our new winery location in San Luis Obispo (SLO).  It is nerve racking experience.  Although the odds are small that anything will happen, you aren’t happy until they are safe at their new destination.
All I kept thinking about was what if the driver had an accident, what happened, if he swerves too hard?  Thank goodness for professionals, because there is no way we could have done it without him.
After our barrels were moved, it was time to go to the vineyard and see our fruit and do a final check.  These are pictures from our block of fruit.

After leaving the vineyard, we returned back to the winery in SLO and had a meeting with our consulting winemaker, Jeremy Leffert to discuss the game plan for harvesting the next day. Things to consider at this point included;
1-making sure the bins were brought to the vineyard.
2- making sure the delivery truck would be at the vineyard on time to bring the grapes to the winery. You do not want the grapes sitting in the bins for longer than necessary.
3- arranging for the picking crew
4- arranging for the winery itself to have the equipment ready to go to receive the fruit
5- destemming/cold soak/fermentation philosophy
As you can see, there are a lot of logistics involved in making sure harvest goes well. And these don’t even include the grapes themselves being good!
The actual harvest will be in another post- so stay tuned and thank you for reading.

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  1. I’m rather partial to Cabernet Franc – the last time I drank it was in Chinon in the Loire Valley. Looking forward to your subsequent posts to find out what happens next and, of course, that I get to taste it one day!

    1. Thank you Michelle for taking the time to read and comment. We just had a Cab Franc from Chinon to celebrate my birthday on the 28th. It was quite yummy. And we would love for you to try ours!

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