Winemaker Lisa here with an insider's preview of harvest 2009... I've been visiting our vineyards over the past few weeks to check on crop size and fruit development, all the while hoping that harvest would hold off until the end of August. Harvest really is an exciting time, but there's always so much to do over the summer like bottling and making sure last year's Cabernet lots are in good shape. Any extra time we can get goes a long way. So, of course, as I was roaming through our DCV7 Zinfandel vineyard in front of the winery last week, I spotted a beautiful cluster with lots of purple berries. Woo Hoo! Being the proud owner of a new iPhone, I took a great picture to show my cohorts at the winery. Wilma asked if I have winemaker jitters (not really, after 20 some odd vintages) and then asked if I'd write about what's going on in the vineyard for her blog.
What is going on is known as veraison, or the beginning of ripening, when the berries start to soften and change color. Harvest usually starts six weeks after veraison, which puts it at the end of August or first week of September. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc come in first, with Zin following closely behind. I've been making wine for a while and every vintage has been unique. We do the same things and bring in fruit from the same vineyards each year, but it always seems new. I'm certainly still learning and hope never to stop.
Well, the '07 Cabernet is bottled and the '08 Heritage Zin will be done this week. There are a few more small bottlings for August, and last year's Cabernets are definitely in good shape. We're ready!