By now, our friends and family should know that if they are going to visit in September, we are going to put them to work in the vineyard. This year, our daughter-in-law Karina Aldredge was here designing our Zen garden when suddenly our sugars spiked and the flavor were perfect, so we needed to harvest the grapes for our estate Pinot Noir. So me, Joanne, Karina and our friend Joel picked Wednesday September 5th.
We couldn’t get the crew to do the major harvest until Friday night. Only 8 guys showed up (instead of the 13 they promised us) from 7PM to midnight (wearing head lamps) and we were able to get a second small crew to show up at 5AM the next morning to finish. I was working the entire time – hard work. All told, we picked for Hanzell 4.43 tons! Then the following morning, Joanne and I went around and picked the grapes they missed or dropped. I guess it’s hard to see in the dark since we found over 100 more pounds. We added these little jewels to our estate Turtle Vines wine as “whole clusters” to get some tannic flavors from the stems.
Then, exhausted, after working almost non stop for more than 24 hours, I had to drive a trailer full of grapes to Sonoma for Hanzell Vineyards Sabella Pinot Noir.
This was the biggest and most beautiful harvest we have ever had – almost 5 tons!
I will announce the final numbers and the winners of our “guess the date and the number of pounds” contest in the next day. A big thanks to Karina and a warning to Vaughn Aldredge that we will coincidentally be pressing the grapes on the very day he is going to be here for his conference in Berkeley and visit to Sebastopol so bring something purple to wear
PS A special thanks to Joanne for taking the wonderful pictures and documenting this wonderful event!
Some of you may look at the picture above and say “Yuk”, what are those odd looking grapes. Well, in fact, these are wonderful wine grapes but not so good vineyard grapes. Why? What you want is a combination of large, small and shriveled berries to maximize skin flavor yet provide enough juice for wine. I think 2016 will go down as a challenging growing year but a wonderful wine year…and our number one goal is to produce great wine and wine grapes!!! Here is what I hope to see a year from now.
– Obtain my first 90 point wine from the Prince of Pinot! (2015 Vintage)
– 5 tons of Pinot Noir, or about 3.25 pounds per vine.
– Continue our relationship with Hanzell Vineyards
– Control powdery mildew with spray/sprayer improvements
– Water the vineyard as little as possible for flavor and to decrease powdery mildew
– Control pH in grape juice to acceptable levels
– 500 pounds of Sauvignon Blanc with the use of cane pruning
– Simplify my personal vineyard workload
It’s 3am and the call comes in…whom do you want to answer the phone? Oh, this is harvest time and not the election!!!
I was up at 3am September 14th, and we started our pick at 4am with a 7 man crew. We finished up a little after 10am. Between what we sell to Hanzell and what we keep for ourselves we harvested 7,003 pounds!
And by the way, I lifted almost all of the grapes twice to get the trailer loaded….once to my truck and once from the truck to the trailer. Didn’t have to work out for a week.
Joey and Bernadino loading the trailer!
Almost full trailer…
I’m finishing up the Pommard and then heading to Sonoma to deliver the grapes!
– We started the year getting a wonderful review of our 2013 Pinot Noir from The Prince of Pinot.
– Our 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was a hit at Eight Restaurant and sold out!
– We are now selling grapes to Hanzell Vineyards, one of the oldest and most respected Pinot Noir wineries in the United States.
– Mother nature reduced our 2015 grape harvest by 60%, but should produce an amazing vintage!
– We finished the year by having 2 restaurants carry Turtle Vines Pinot Noir on their wine list. Muir’s Tea Room here in Sebastopol and Millennium Restaurant in Oakland (the #1 rated Vegetarian restaurant in the World)
– Lastly, we continue to get the love and support from our many friends, family, colleagues and supporters of our vineyard and winery!!!
We hope your 2015 was just as eventful and we wish you a wonderful 2016.