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Let the Crush Begin!

by David on August 27, 2007

Wow! It’s here! It’s early! We just crushed our first grapes of the year, 9 tons of Chenin Blanc! The Sauvignon Blanc is right on its heels, probably coming in, in the next couple of days.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

Early is beautiful, as long as the grapes get adequate “hangtime“, and after such a mild summer there’s little concern in that regard. In fact, if this gorgeous Chenin Blanc is any kind of bellwether, we’ll be seeing beautifully ripe flavors without accumulating too much sugar.

Geoff Gorsuch, our Winemaker, was in his element sorting through the grapes with his indispensable assistant, Rosario, watching like a hawk as the grapes went into the crusher-stemmer and tasting the juice out of the press.

Rosario watching hopper

It was fresh press juice all around for our group on the Estate Winegrowing Tour. From year to year I always forget how amazingly sweet it is – major sugar rush! – and these grapes were only 22.8% sugar! Just wait until the Cab rolls in at around 25%! Soooooo good…

Chenin Blanc juice from press

Our group had just been out in the Cabernet checking the sugar –  it’s hovering at just over 20%, so it’s going to be awhile. After veraison (the color change) is complete, we can figure that the sugar will go up 1-2 tenths of a percent a day depending on the weather.

visitors to Goosecross check Brix

And, the weather continues to be spectacular – just ridiculously pleasant. I doubt if it broke 80 degrees yesterday and today looks like a duplicate. As Geoff said earlier, in conditions like these the greatest risk is human error. If the mild conditions persist we’re going to have one killer vintage on our hands valley wide.

An early start can lead to an early finish and besides a greater chance of avoiding the rain, there’s an added benefit most of us don’t think about unless there’s a winemaker in our lives. Much better chance that he/she can actually sit down and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner a few months from now, rather than jump up in the middle and leave to go do a pump over! ;-)

It always seems that once those first few tons come in, it’s non stop. But there’s something about that first box. I’ve been through more harvests than I care to admit, but when those first pretty little clusters arrive it still makes my heart race and brings tears to my eyes. Kind of embarrassing in front of the guests… ;-)

Anyway, if you want to check up on our progress, just go to our Harvest Calendar to see what’s going on. As Geoff always says, here’s hoping Mother Nature smiles on us!

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