Monday, December 27, 2010

Questions and Answers Regarding 2010 Harvest

Before anyone starts yelling at me for not blogging, my excuse is the 2010 harvest kept me busy and stressed out. I don't have any preconceived ideas that any of the harvests will be routine or similar in any fashion. This harvest seemed more exhausting and quite a bit more stressful than the previous ones.

The growing season of 2010 was cool with lots of fog until noon most days. People became very concerned about mildew, mold and ripening the fruit. Many but not all farmers made changes to how they farmed. People did leaf thinning to expose the fruit to the sun and prevent mold. Some dropped fruit in hopes of veraison not being delayed any longer. It was hard to make the call. That was tough enough but then we had a huge heat spike, in the 110+ range in Dry Creek, that caused some ciaos. As Kerry was explaining to people, the grapes didn't have their sun tan or it was like exposing a baby's bottom to the tropical sun. They JUST weren't ready for it. No one realized the damage until about a week later. Many grape clusters were damaged and lost due to the heat/sun-they just collapsed. Such an ugly sight to see. There was great debate on what to do as this was a situation not seen by the growers or winemakers. Kerry worked closely with our growers on how to handle the situation as we all had one thing in mind-quality fruit and not just any fruit. Decisions were made on leaving the raisin clusters on the vines so it didn't screw up the growing cycle of the vines. Dead clusters were dropped a day before the pick and pickers were paid by the hour and not per ton so they focused on Kerry's direction. Kerry went through many vineyards vine by vine and instructed them what to pick. It took about 5 times longer for the pick but we had no choice.

We are lucky as a winery because our growers, winemaker and us work closely together. Not everyone had that mind frame and who could blame them as growers lost a lot of revenue. For us, I can say the quantity was down but quality ROCKED. Kerry kept saying as the fruit rolled into our crush pad, "the flavors are incredible, or this is the best fruit they have ever brought us...". I'm proud of the growers and Kerry for all the effort they put in during the harvest-it made all the difference in crafting outstanding wines for the 2010 vintage.