For us, the harvest is always in multiple stages. When to harvest fruit from our blocks at vineyards is rather complex. Various types of grapes mature at different times. Merlot matures early while certain blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon seem to want to hang around forever.
How do we know when to pick? Fred tastes and walks every vineyard many times, watching for flavor development. Harvest usually occurs sometime between mid-September and late-October depending on the growing season. During that time of the year, we examine the stems, skins, and seeds of the fruit for visual indications of maturity. We test the grapes for sugar, pH, and total acidity on a regular basis during ripening. We watch for changes in flavor, appearance, and chemistry of the grape and try to harvest when the grape has achieved physiological ripeness. Ultimately, we taste the fruit and pick on the basis of flavor.
Once we determine that grapes are ready for harvest we handpick the grapes at night or just before dawn in half-ton bins and deliver them quickly to the winery for processing. The harvest requires strict monitoring of what goes into the bins. Our grapes are absolutely free of leaves, canes and other materials that might impart an off-flavor during fermentation.
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