Last year we anticipated harvest for a long time.This year is quite the opposite. Saperavi continues to win the popularity contest at the winery, and Chardonnay supply was also running low, so we scheduled a bottling run right before Labor Day. Getting the wines ready, along with some Smokehouse Red and Gewurztraminer, kept us busy for 2 weeks, meaning we spent very little time acknowledging that grapes were ripening. (Heads in the sand?) When bottling was over, we recognized that we should have a look and maybe take some samples. Surprise! It’s good we had no plans to make sparkling wine – we certainly missed that picking window. We are now on a twice a week sampling regimen, and maybe more for the early varieties.
This week began with some panic mode moving equipment around. Getting the press, crusher and bin dumper in place is a big job. And it drives more cleaning, of course, so Jess will have to draft some help. The vineyard crew (Todd and Ian) are back on tractors, mowing and discing to give the vines some relief from water competition in the near drought conditions. Everyone is learning how to sample to make sure it gets done well. We are stretching our vocabulary to come up with flavor words for what we tasting in the ripening grapes (guess which variety was rhubarb?!)
As always, while the pressure and intensity deepens on the winemaking and grape growing side of the business, it does the same in the tasting room. Traffic over the Labor Day weekend was tremendous, and the change from summer tourists to fall wine collectors was palpable. We are refining our policies, as reservations come pouring in, to make sure we accommodate our guests to highlight our wines.
Club members are encouraged to let us know they are coming, and to take advantage of our new cheese and wine pairings and our barrel cellar tours and tastings. It is fun to watch all of our excellent tasting room staff greet their favorite customers with hugs, baby pictures, reminders of past tastings and memories, and a sense of family and belonging.