It was an exciting week. We brought in our first fruit of the harvest. Our Chenin Blanc! In all honesty, it was doubly exciting, since it was also our first time bringing in a white. I hear all the time that people would love to work a harvest, so I thought it would be an interesting post to walk you through what a day in the life of a harvest is like!

Keep in mind, that we have decided to source our fruit for our Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg AVA as opposed to Paso, so this adds a bit more coordination to the plan! Although we absolutely love Paso Robles, and consider it our winery home, our desire to create the best possible wine from the finest fruit led us north to Clarksburg. (read more about this decision here)  

Our harvest adventure began on Sunday afternoon when we picked up a 10 foot U-haul truck and then went to the winery to grab some bins. In order to harvest, you need empty bins! These bins measure 48″ X 40″ X 31″ and weigh 92 pounds empty. After loading the bins into the truck, we threw Vegas’ bed in the front with us and began the four hour drive up to Clarksburg. 

The ride itself, although long, was not an issue. The one thing that we hope will only be with this harvest and no future ones, was all the smoke that we had to drive through. It truly was sad to drive through areas that we couldn’t even see a half a mile in front of us. We again, would like to thank all the emergency crews that are putting their lives on the line in order to help save lives and property. 

We arrived in Stockton, where we spent the night, around 7:00pm. Since we knew it was going to be an early morning, we just hung out and watched, the Johnsonville ACL Cornhole Championships. Oh the things you can find on television during a pandemic! 

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We woke up bright and early Monday morning and continued our tradition of Starbucks before harvest. Vegas would never forgive us if we stopped at Starbucks and he didn’t get a pupachino. Luckily, the cup holder was the perfect height to hold his cup! I think it is very easy to see, that he is not in the least bit spoiled! 😆 

dog eating pupachino
I thought it would be fun to share a harvest with you through imagery! 

arriving at vineyard 6:00am
sun among smoke
the early sun among some smoke from the Santa Rosa fires
dog in vineyard
Vegas surveying the fruit before picking

After the fruit was all picked and loaded into the truck, we turned around and headed back to Paso Robles for the processing. The fruit was dumped into a bladder press. We decided to whole cluster cold crush the fruit. After crushing, the juice is transported to cold storage tanks where it will remain for 48 hours to cold settle. Afterwards, we will remove the material that settled out of the juice and transfer to fermentation tanks. We will then add our selected yeast to complete fermentation.

So there you have it! You have just completed your very first harvest! It is hard work, long hours, but it is an exciting time, so your adrenaline is pumping. As you can see at the end of the video, we followed what is tradition when you bring in the first fruit of the year; ended the day with popping a bottle of Champagne! (well, in this case California Sparkling!)  

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    1. Thanks Michael! We are so excited to be bringing Chenin Blanc to our portfolio. And I have to say that the fruit was incredible and came in at perfect conditions!

  1. Excited for you – and all the lovers of Dracaena Wines! Can’t wait to taste the new wine and to hear more about your adventure.

    1. Thank you so much Lauren. It was such a great day for us. The Brix and acid levels were exactly where we wanted them to be. We tasted the free run and it was sooo good! Can’t wait for it to get in bottle.

  2. Thank you for sharing your harvest. Love Clarksburg fruit. Having lived in Sacramento for a while, I drank it often. Look forward to tasting yours one day!

    1. Wow! I didn’t know you lived there! Awesome! We are so excited to add Chenin to our portfolio. I hope we get to clink a glass or two/three/four someday soon!

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