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Talley Vineyards

Brian Talley, Vintner
August 28, 2015 | Harvest | Brian Talley, Vintner

Harvest Update

What’s the theme of harvest 2015?  Talking to winemakers up and down the state, the same two words keep coming up: “early” and “light.” That pretty much sums up what we’ve seen here as well.  Our July 28 start date was the earliest in our history, beating last year’s record by 3 days.  Interestingly, our harvest numbers this year almost exactly match where we were at the same time last year:  104 tons of pinot noir and 39 tons of chardonnay (2014 statistics were 100 tons of pinot noir and 45 tons of chardonnay).  The big difference in 2014 was that we still had much more to harvest.  This year, we are much further along and I project that our total production will be down between 25% and 33%, within the range projected by Vineyard Manager Kevin Wilkinson and his assistant Ben Taylor.

So far, flavors are beautiful in pinot noir.  We pressed off Rosemary’s Block 7 (the backbone of the Rosemary’s Vineyard bottling that my father planted back in 1987) on Tuesday and the color was vibrant cranberry and the flavors primal and intense.  Chardonnay is fermenting nicely, but still sweet and hard to assess.  Acidity is higher than 2014 and I expect more concentration due to the lower yields.  Speaking of chardonnay, check out this video shot by my daughter Elizabeth that shows how we process chardonnay from the moment it’s picked until it goes into barrel. 

I’m thankful for our fantastic production team this harvest.  Winemaker Eric Johnson and his team of Ignacio Zarate, Nicole Morris, Pat Sigler and Devon King are supported by Cal Poly interns Sean Pihl (back for his second harvest), Cody Alt, Austin Griffin and Christina Soares.  This same group, led by Ken Hasek, managed to bottle our 2014 Estate Chardonnay at the same time as they processed grapes.  Our Controller, Michele Good, refers to the days when we bottle and harvest simultaneously as “Crazytown Cellars.” 

Eric Johnson and Ben Taylor discuss Chardonnay from West Rincon. 

Harvest 2015 Interns Eric inspecing pinot noir grapes early morning during harvest.

On another note, we are looking forward to autumn, the season we see the full bounty of what we produce at Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards.  At Talley Vineyards we are nearing the release of our Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noirs.  Meanwhile, just across the road at Talley Farms, we have heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, avocados, peppers, and a plethora of other fall vegetables.  I encourage you to visit soon and experience my favorite season of the year.  Cheers!

2015 Talley Vineyards Harvest Crew


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