September 12, 2014
Posted by Jason Saling, Vineyard Manager
This morning we harvested 11.6 tons by 8:30 AM. This is nice. What is even nicer is the fact that we did this while still missing one of our core team members, Rodrigo, who has missed the last two days welcoming a baby girl to his family!
The weather is feeling very autumnal. Leaves are falling and the days are noticeably shorter and cooler. I say that with the exception of the early morning temps, which have been warmer than typical harvest conditions. Typically, I see mid 40’s during harvest, but there has only been one night since we started harvesting that it has not been 56 degrees.
This morning, we grabbed some more of the Rued clone Chard from Block 14 (3 tons) and then moved into block 9A to get the QH Select PN.
The Pinot continues to flow tomorrow with Blocks 10B, 1B, 2 (Sun-Side) and 6E coming off in the early morning.
This weather and the outlook is about as ideal as you would hope during harvest. The extended cooler weather pattern is allowing for some low stress flavor development. We’re very excited about that.
Well, this heat sure didn’t slow anything down.
Today we harvested more Old Wente Chardonnay from Susanna’s this morning, right around 4.4 tons out of Block 6C. We got rolling at 5AM and delivered the last trailer to the winery that morning around 7:30.
Tomorrow, we will keep kept the ball rolling through the Chardonnay with two more blocks, Blocks 9 and 10 from Susanna’s, with a little more than 3 tons from block 9 and ~5ish tons from block 10.
One of my tell-tale signs that harvest is imminent is the annual southern migration of Canadian Geese and the air fills with their honking sounds as long V’s soar past. As I was passing the Fallow Field at Castaneda’s farm on the other side of the Laguna, I looked to my left and noticed what must have been about 200 geese in the field grazing. And then yesterday I did see another five flying in a V formation. Confirmed, harvest is happening. Yes, harvest continues tomorrow. In the wee hours of the morning, we will finish up the rest of Block 11 here at QHV before jumping over to Susanna’s to get the first Susanna’s Chard from blocks 6B and 7. The winery is beginning to fill up fast and soon the aromas of fermentation will begin to fill the air.
Harvest began at Lynmar Estate at 4:00 am today, exactly one year since the beginning of Harvest 2013.
This year started out so fast and yet the last month of foggy mornings held the fruit in check until now. We like to call that Hang Time. We may find the harvest curve to be much more steep and compact than last year, as all blocks appear to be tracking very similarly in ripening.
Picked today: Quail Hill Vineyard Old Wente Blocks 13 and 11B. The crew got rolling at 4AM and were finished just shy of 8 am.
Our 2014 harvest crew is ideally sized with 14 pickers, a tractor operator and a QC individual. This will allow for 4 rows of picking with 3 people per row and two floaters to help with rows that are uneven in length so that the team can exit the rows and make the turn together.
End of day
This morning went well. The crew was all here and ready to roll by 3:45. After donning our reflective vests, headlamps, grabbing a fresh set of harvest shears and loading up the bin trailers, we hit block 13 a couple of minutes before 4AM. Expecting to complete the pick by 8, I was pleasantly surprised to find that we harvested 7 tons by 7AM, better than 2 tons per hour! The crew then went back to work for a few more hours moving forward with their QC pass at Susanna’s to eliminate botrytis and any bird damage ahead of the ripening curve.
The pick continues tomorrow with Block 11A. We will again start at 4 with a target completion time of 7AM tomorrow as to get the estate fruit all in to the winery early as they have a very long day tomorrow with lots of other tonnage starting to hit the deck.