Saturday morning we were out for our fist harvest of the year. I took the traditional photo of the time and temperature from the FJ Cruiser.
This next photo is also a traditional stop for us now. Sam’s Donuts around the corner from our house. We get a dozen donuts or so for the crew and volunteers.
The vineyard we harvested is new for us this year. It’s the Brauns or Under a Lucky Star Vineyard. There are 400 Pinot Noir plants above Los Altos in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
We arrived on site just as the sun was coming up and the crew had already started working. In 2005 we tried harvesting earlier in a couple vineyards using lights. This sounds really cool and is trendy, but I figured quickly it’s a complete waste of time. The crew moves at about 50% of normal speed and you end up having to go back through anyway and get what you missed when the sun comes out. All we really accomplished was sleep deprivation and a higher risk of injury so we don’t do that anymore.
We used the ‘A Team’ for this pick since it was out first time in the vineyard to harvest. Jerry, Gil, Estella and Ysidro made up the professional crew and we had Wes, Ingrid, Joan and Ron come as volunteers. Everyone picking was an experienced picker.
Picking went very quickly and we were done well before 9AM. Total harvest was just about 900 pounds which is the most ever for this site we were told. There had been animal and bird issues in the past. We used a double netting system and sealed the net bottoms with chop sticks as we normally do. This is different from most vineyards but we’ve learned this method is key for our suburban vineyards.
The fruit looked excellent and I took the picture below of the soil in the vineyard. Stefania and I love this red volcanic dirt. There’s a small band through out the Santa Cruz Mountains and grapes do very well on it. The same band also cuts through Crimson Clover.
It took just about 25 minutes to get to the winery and then only about 10 minutes to process the fruit. There was a little drama with the pump that I had to tend to and then the winemaking so I didn’t take any pictures of the actual crush. Stefania took readings and the numbers were Brix 23.9, pH 3.7 and TA .61. Really great for a first time in this vineyard.
The juice went into a single bin and will ferment on native yeast. We used 1/3 whole clusters and I’ll only do two punch downs a day to avoid getting to much tannin extracted. We’re really excited about this vineyard and wine.