Since we first started visiting wine country, I have always loved harvest time. There’s a palpable energy in the air with tractors rolling down the roads pulling containers of grapes, empty harvest bins rumbling like thunder across the valley and the aromas of fermenting grapes wafting on the breeze. Add warm, sunny days with bright blue skies and crisp nights with a sky full of stars - what’s not to love?
We don’t like to talk about it because wine people are an optimistic bunch, but the last few years have been challenging in Sonoma wine country. In 2017 we had the Tubbs fire that destroyed hundreds of homes, filled the skies with smoke, and shut us down with power outages and evacuations. Over the next two years we had more fires and evacuations. In 2020 we had the dual impacts of COVID and wildfires in the hills just west of us that brought days of shutdowns, smoke, and evacuations.
This year we have been nervous, knowing we are still in a heavy drought with the danger of more wildfires. The silver lining – which we always seek – is that the challenges have made us more nimble, more creative, and more grateful. We take a deep breath each time we harvest the next block and put it safely to bed in barrel. And we give thanks.
One thing that endures is the excitement we feel with every harvest. There’s something deeply gratifying about partnering with, and sometimes overcoming, Mother Nature to bring in another crop. And we’re always doing something new that is invigorating. This year we foot treaded the grapes that go into our Sparkling Tres, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. We also foot treaded Grenache for our Rosé of Grenache - in the vineyard! Everyone pitched in - our winemaker, Ashley Herzberg and her kids, our team and our club members! And most exciting of all, we are fermenting some of our estate Chardonnay in a brand-new concrete egg – an Oeuf de Beaune – to create a different style Chardonnay. We tasted a sample today and we can’t wait to release this wine! I will always love harvest.
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