There's a big change in the weather coming next week, with rain forecast to arrive late Monday night. It looks like a potentially significant first storm of the season. Hopefully the only thing left on the vines by then will be a 2.5-acre block of clone 115 Pinot Noir that goes to the Loring Wine Company and myself.
It's been a very busy week harvesting grapes, along with doing punch-downs on 13 T-bins and pumping over a 7-ton jacketed stainless-steel tank of Pinot. (My friend Wes Hagen at Clos Pepe claims that pump-overs on Pinot Noir make the baby Jesus cry. But, what a gentle extraction process compared to punch-downs.)
Yesterday we picked 4 acres of the clone 115 Pinot for Siduri Winery in Sonoma County. Again we picked at night and into the morning to get the fruit into the bins cold. (I consider him a friend, but you don't want Adam Lee coming up behind you complaining that his berries are warm.)
Seriously, I am lucky to have hooked up with Adam and Dianna Lee when I planted my first vineyard in 1998. They have been a huge help to me, as well as a wealth of information, which they have never hesitated to share. They get fruit from both California and Oregon and, as a result, have seen just about every permutation of growing conditions you can imagine. As a grower, I can turn to Adam with any question, and if he doesn't know the answer, he knows someone who does. I don't know how many times Adam has talked me off the ledge.
I spoke with Adam late this morning and he was in the process of destemming the fruit, which went onto a semi-trailer truck yesterday and arrived last night at Siduri in Santa Rosa. When the truck arrived here, it was already loaded with some fruit for Siduri from Clos Pepe, and afterwards headed to the Loring Winery to pick up Turner Vineyard fruit that was going to Andrew Vingiello's A.P. Vin winery in San Francisco.
This morning we picked the Loring Wine Company's lower block of Pinot Noir and had it loaded by 6 a.m. It's half of what Brian and Kim Loring get; the other half mentioned above is going to ride out into next week. That second pick of fruit will be fine because the fruiting zone has had almost all the leaves removed so that air can flow around and through the clusters. This was done early in the year and again in August to minimize fungal disease pressure. Because of the cool maritime-influenced temperatures, this kind of leaf removal is something you can do in the Sta. Rita Hills without burning the fruit.
Brian's section is next to the Brewer-Clifton block. The berries were tiny and the fruit was inky black. That's what Pinot Noir does in a very cool climate under low vigor conditions. I am sure he will be pleased, but I haven't talked to Brian yet, and I am wondering what he thinks of the fruit?
It's time to head out to the winery and put away tanks and fermenting barrels of Pinot Grigio. I need to make room for visitors to this weekend's Santa Barbara County Vintners festival. Hopefully I will see some of the folks reading this blog ... ? (I will be the guy that looks like he's half asleep.)
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