Our 89th harvest began two weeks ago. Today the vineyard crew picked several blocks on the home ranch. For us harvest doesn't really begin until our Mother Clone Zinfandel is brought in to the winery. Our flagship varietal, planted here in the early 1900s, is our iconic wine, the star of each vintage. Sourced from what is now second generation vineyard, the vines are nearly 40 years old and planted on the hillsides around the winery. A toast in my Dino with a splash of Zinfandel!
Here is a glimpse into the action. You get the idea going from vine to vine how intensive it is to pick grapes. Each bucket is run back to the gondola waiting at the end of the row.
First stop for the gondola is at the weigh station and for a sugar sample. Manuel Diaz, vineyard foreman, takes the sample to winemaker Montse for testing.
A cup of beautiful Zinfandel juice, ready for analysis.
The results are in! Manuel guessed 25 degrees Brix-the sugar level of the sample and he was right.
A short trip from the scale to the crushpad, 2016 Mother Clone is destemmed and sent to fermentation tank. This is when I wish we had smell-o-vision, the ripe fruit is so tantalizing.
The beginning of fermentation. We'll follow tank #102 as it begins its' wine journey.