Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008 Harvest Update

What an adventure this harvest has been. So many times the weather threatened us with disaster, and each time our vineyards were lucky enough to come out of it unscathed. This started way back in the spring, with a killer frost that shriveled all the new shoots, and we worried that we wouldn’t get any crop at all. Shortly, though, it got warm again and new shoots came out, only a couple of weeks behind the original ones. This meant that yields were down, but we began to anticipate a very high quality harvest. It stayed cool throughout the mild summer, allowing the fruit to develop slowly and steadily, but it got hot and windy right at bloom -- a recipe for shatter. Already low yields were reduced even further when many of the flowers on the clusters failed to become grapes. At this point I began to hear from our contract vineyards, warning me that we might not get as much fruit as expected, but I knew that this year would bring the first harvest from our Edward Sellers estate vineyard, which looked fantastic.

Well, a couple of heat spells and a few cold mornings later, we brought in our first grapes, Halter Ranch Marsanne, as usual… on September 2. If this was any indication, the quality of this harvest was going to be great. Whites trickled in, and then some reds, and on September 9 we finally picked the first of the estate fruit, again Marsanne, and absolutely lovely. The last of the fruit came in on October 31, just before the skies opened up and it began to rain.

Overall, through all the ups and downs, hots and colds, we’ve ended up with some exceptional wines in our stable, among the most exciting of which are the beautiful, first-crop reds and whites from our Estate Vineyard on Highway 46 West.

Stick around for a couple of years and you just might get to try them.

Amy Butler, Winemaker

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