Harvest started this morning!
Our vineyard management crew arrived early and are busy picking the top part of the vineyard.
As you can see from the photos, the leaves are changing colour and this indicates that they have stopped making sugar and are shutting down. The grapes are therefore as sweet as they will get - and measuring their "brix" level - sugar level - they seem to be great.
The harvest is lighter than previous years but this seems to be the same throughout northern CA this year.
I've just wandered the vineyard and it's always such a happy day. You hear the chat of the vineyard workers - in spanish - but it always sounds happy. I've never been out there when they don't sound cheerful. Some singing, some joking, and plenty of talk that I can't understand! Yet they work so hard. They cut quickly, using a curved knife, put the grapes in small bins then when their bin is full, they put it in half ton bins on the tractor.
In a couple of the photos you'll see my husband next to the tractor, talking to the crew organizer. They are discussing which grapes to harvest. The sugar levels have been measured throughout the vineyard and these determine which grapes get harvested. The levels vary depending on the position, so today they are hoping to harvest 5 tons from the very top and then down the right hand side. The other grapes will continue to ripen and increase their sugar levels until they are harvested next week. As our vineyard is on a slope, the top ones always ripen first - and have the best flavours!
We have now picked 3 tons - one of the photos shows 3 half ton bins on the truck and then another three full bins on the driveway with Chris the vineyard manager driving the tractor with three more empty ones, ready to be filled.
Well- this ends today's viticulture lesson! Hope you like the photos and get a sense of the day!
3 weeks ago