Monday, September 22, 2008

Harvest Report

DCW is nearing the midpoint of our 2008 Harvest. The weather changed the flow of grapes coming in but that is part of farming. It seemed like we couldn't pick the grapes fast enough a few weeks ago then the cool weather hit. Our winemakers are working incredibly hard and I'm quite proud of them. "It's that time of year-it's what we need to do" said one of DCW winemakers when I said good job for all the non-stop work he had been putting in.

To sum up some of the action, we started with a bang or maybe a burn out would be a better description. Our first day of harvest, the guys were working in 110+ degree heat and the machines were working hard. It's isn't difficult to surmise what happened next-a part of the machine broke due to the heat. Of course a call went out out for help and to get it fixed but within minutes, I had a production staff member standing on top of the press shoveling the grapes in. Grapes then started to arrive rapidly after our first day. Winemakers were receiving calls from the vineyards about BRIX-they had to go check the BRIX out and grapes were coming in on those days as well. Controlled chaos would be the description. Grapes were ripening so rapidly that it was hard to organize crews to pick for many of the farmers-everyone was picking at the same time so there became a shortage of crews to be had! Good thing my winemakers are flexible and adjust to when we can get grapes (if they come at 3 pm and they work late into the night then that's what they do). We finally seemed to get a break from the heat and we have had a slow down of grapes coming in. WHEW! This week Saralee Chardonnay, the Estate Zin, Petite Sirah and Syrah are being crushed. Some of the reds that have come in already, such as the Maple Zin, have finished fermentation and are being pressed and put into barrels. We expect the Cabernets to be arriving in a few weeks but that works well for us-we have gallons of other wine that needs our undivided attention at the moment.

I love this time of year. There is the smell of fermenting grapes in the air, tons of activity in the vineyards and the leaves are starting to turn color on many of the vines. It is very evident and real how the cycle of life (vines) is. The vines work hard all year long and what we are fortunate enough to receive is their gifts of grapes. It's a truly amazing thing and nothing I take for granted.

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