Milestone Harvest

Note to self: Avoid flying home on 9/11.

Despite a poorly planned departure date, I made it home from my NewClick photo to enlarge! York sales trip without a hitch. And just in the nick of time! Yesterday we received our first load of ripe grapes. As is the tradition around here, everyone gathered around the crusher to witness the big event. Even my father was there, to ceremoniously shovel grapes into the shiny stainless steel hopper. A glass of bubbles was raised as we toasted the safety, success, and serendipity of this annual event that is the lifeblood of our winery.

The 2011 harvest is important for a number of reasons:

  1. The resulting wines help us pay the bills. Duh.

  2. It's about time we started, after all it's already mid-September.

  3. The 2011 harvest marks several important milestones. 

Now about those milestones...

This is our 40th harvest.  It's also the 35th harvest for longtime employee Gary Emmerich, and it's the 1st harvest for newcomer Tim Bell. Tim joined us earlier this summer as winemaker. Now don't go getting all worried that massive Click photo to enlarge!changes are ahead: on the contrary, Tim's exacting nature and attention to detail will help us ensure the continued high quality and consistently delicious nature of our wines. Longtime consulting winemaker Bill Knuttel remains part of the team and will be working closely with Tim throughout the harvest.

We have a few other newcomers in the cellar too. Donovan Ackermann and Kosie Van De Merwe are our latest harvest interns (both hail from South Africa) to add to a long list of international talent who have worked crush at Dry Creek. They are joined by veterans Nova Perrill (assistant winemaker), Jerry Smith (cellar master), Abel Garcia (cellar foreman), Mike Gillian (mechanic), and Tarcicio Garcia (Abe's brother).

To say we have an awesome Click photo to enlarge!team is an understatement. Just look at this picture… there's enough brawn, brains, and bravado to make some seriously hard core wines! As the work on the crush pad begins to pick up the pace, the work continues in our vineyards. Besides the actual picking process, our vineyard crews are busily dropping fruit, eliminating clusters that don't look good and encouraging maturation and ripeness in the remaining clusters. Monitoring sugar levels is a daily to-do while waiting patiently for Mother Nature to do her thing. Harvest generally starts out rather slowly, but nearly always escalates to a frantic pace that somehow everybody manages to survive.

No wonder they call it CRUSH!

| | Comments (2)


AngelWorks Author Profile Page said:
September 15, 2011 4:13 PM

Can't wait to see the results!

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
September 15, 2011 4:48 PM

To your health and fortune!

Gary may be able to vouch for the plausibility that crush 2011 would have been my 30th or 31st. The Cellar master '81 invited me back for a reprise bringing in the must and watching the juice until it fermented to dryness; the 'fuge was new, and even controversial; and the Willmes press also was just gaining acceptance beyond the experimental stage on the northcoast. The cellarmaster let me have a few ceremonial flings at the Willmes, to develop my sense of handling the grapes gently, respectfully. Being crushtime, it could be difficult to see the fruit as it entered the press mechanisms under the pad floodlights outdoors with the sunset passing and evening's shadows adding to the mystery of the entire operation.

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on September 14, 2011 1:43 PM.

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