Friday, July 8, 2016

Don’t Drop My Babies

I know dropping fruit is part of the game.  I’ve always known that.  But that doesn’t mean I like it, or have to like it.  One of the first times I tasted Kerry’s wines, which was the 2005 Syrah, he asked me what I thought.  I said, “They’re okay.” I think he may have been a little offended.  Kerry being the devoted guy he is wanted to do it better the next vintage, so he called for a green drop of fruit, insisting the change needed to be made in the vineyard.  This means that while the fruit is on the vine, and still green (before veraison, or ripening), the crew goes through the vineyard blocks and drops fruit to facilitate concentration in the berries.  Well, I didn’t know how seriously Kerry was going to take my remarks.  I’d say he dropped anywhere from 50 to 55% of the fruit, between the “green drop” and an additional drop after ripening.

First time I saw all that fruit on the ground, a “green drop”, I about had a momentary meltdown—  Well, it was more than a meltdown, I think it lasted about a week.  I mean, my fruit, my babies, were just lying there.  On the ground!  All that kept going through my head was, “It costs money to drop the fruit, and all that fruit on the ground will never be made into wine to sell.” Look, I understand that this has to be done, but it was another hard lesson I had to not just learn but appreciate as a winery owner.  What a mean lesson, though.  A painful one.  It hurts to even talk about, I swear.  But I know, if I want the wine to have more structure, more character and persuasive power, then we need to drop fruit.  But just imagine, seeing a pile of fruit, about a foot tall, mounds all over the vineyard of fruit that was just cut off, just dropped.  Just sitting there.  Potential product, gone…  UGH!  See?  Just thinking about it bothers me…  My poor grapes!  My babies!  But, it needs to happen.  For the quality of the wine.

Walked the vineyards just this morning, and I enjoyed the peace, the in-tact picture I see.  I know it’ll change, and I know it has to change if Dutcher wines are to continue tasting as delicious as they are, as our winemaking team makes them.  It makes sense, it just hurts.  I mean, just imagine seeing all that fruit, just lying there…

Expect me to post a picture of the mounds later in the season.  Right now, the grapes are all there.  Together and so beautiful, untouched.  I know it’s coming, the green drop.  I know more or less when it’s going to happen.  Just don’t expect to see me around the winery.  And if you do see me on-property, I’ll be hiding in my office, so I don’t have to see those mini green mountains.  ‘Cause if I go out there, there’ll be a meltdown.  Ask my staff, no one wants that.

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