We kicked off harvest season by wrapping the perimeter of the vineyard in bird netting. Quail are our biggest fowl fans. Quail prefer to walk, not fly, into the vineyard. A few years ago we noticed that they’re reluctant to walk on the plastic netting. The photo shows a small group trying to get into the vineyard. Often we see 50-100 trying to get in. Fortunately, there are no problem solvers among them, only bird brains.
The weather was very cooperative in September and early October. We had hot and sunny days, just what we need to ripen fruit. In mid-October we got our first fall storm. Over 4 days, more than 2″ of rain fell. That’s a dangerous event because all of our fruit was wet and sheltered by leaves. That can promote mold.
We called in the mold busters! Our vineyard manager sent 7 of his crew up here for emergency leafing. During a rain-free 9 hours, those amazing men pulled all the leaves off the fruit zone of 4600 vines. The skies opened again immediately after they finished. Notice the trail of leaves behind 1 of our harvest heroes.
We harvested last Sunday, just before the next storm was anticipated. Each cluster was hand cut and dropped into a small bin. To minimize the distance the crew members have to carry their filled bins, Gerry drives his tractor in the rows with a large bin on the back. The crew members pass their filled bins to the row Gerry’s in where the small bin is dumped.
Gerry drops the filled bins on the driveway, where a crew member uses a forklift to load them onto a truck, and Gerry drives back to the picking crew with an empty bin. It took a crew of 16 about 3 1/2 hours to complete harvest
Now the vineyard prepares for a long winter’s nap, we breathe a big sigh of relief, and extend a great big THANK YOU to all of our partners and friends who worked so hard with us over the past 9 months to nurture another bountiful harvest.
We are preparing to release 2 new wines next week. They are the 2014 Napa Valley Zinfandel and the 2014 Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc. We’ll send you an email when they’re available on our website.
Thank you so much for your continuing support.
Barb and Gerry Sieck