Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting ready for the Chardonnay harvest!

We walked the Chardonnay rows this morning to check the fruit, which seems to be ripening nice and slowly; the flavors are excellent but the acidity is still too high, so we will wait a few more days to pick.

The Spring Mountain clone is always the last one picked but this year it has much higher yields than usual, so the crew will do another pass to thin out the excess clusters. This will enable the fruit to ripen evenly and earlier, avoiding botrytis or bunch rot.

A Spring Mountain vine with too much fruit on it that needs to be "de-clumped".

Zach's hand shows a cluster of Spring Mountain Chardonnay affected by S.A.D. These will never ripen and need to be removed.

We don't like the taste of the Chardonnay grapes as much as the Pinot Noir -- but we certainly hate the clusters affected by Sugar Accumulation Disorder, or S.A.D.!  We learned about it as we found quite a few such clusters in the Spring Mountain block. Zach explained that it used to be called Berry Shrivel but now we know that it has to do with altered nitrogen metabolism. The affected fruit has lower pH, berry weight and Brix; the shriveled berries have stopped developing and taste harsh and unripe. 

So the crew did a pass through the Spring Mountain parcel today to remove any excess clusters (we call that "de-clumping" -- our very own word!) as well as any affected by S.A.D. And we'll probably be ready for harvesting them in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Harvest is Here -- Fast & Furious!

Harvest arrived on September 3, right after Labor Day, and it has been non-stop since. We started with the Dijon 115 and Swan clones below our house above the vineyard, which has always been the first picked ever since it became biodynamic in 2008. It's either a coincidence or maybe not, but it sure gives us outstanding fruit!  

On the first day of harvest we picked Pinot Noir -- Mom let us have some and it was soooo good!
At sunrise, as is our tradition, we took coffee, pastries and fruit to the vineyard team 

This is an example of our Pinot Noir harvest this year - both bountiful and with fabulous flavors!
We looked out for the crew while they were picking -- they are so fast, we love watching them!

On September 10 we went to the Doña Margarita Vineyard in Sonoma Coast. The fruit there looked and tasted just fantastic and we have been picking there ever since! 

We are now harvesting our Doña Margarita Vineyard in Sonoma Coast, right above our Equestrian Center, Marimar Estate Stables. 
This is how good the Pinot Noir at Doña Margarita Vineyard looks -- and we love how it tastes, too. Mom thinks we will be making superb wine there!

The Chardonnay is also looking beautiful and we have picked some at lower sugars, so we don't exceed the alcohol levels we favor. As soon as we are done in Sonoma Coast, though, it will for sure be ready to harvest -- and also the Albariño, which looks and tastes great!

The Chardonnay in the Don Miguel Vineyard is almost ready to pick!