On a foggy morning in August, we began picking Pinot Noir in Rosemary’s Vineyard. We picked a little shy of 2 tons that day and with the cool conditions were able to sleep in and start at 6:30am. The exact date was the 22nd of August; with the cool summer we had experienced we had thought our harvest would begin a week or two later. Typically, our harvest runs about 6 weeks, so on the 22nd we all felt excited to be done by Halloween. I’ve got two young kids, so Halloween is a good benchmark for me to be liberated and able to walk blissfully house to house, with the kids in whatever the hell costume they’ve come up with and my favorite libation hidden in an insulated coffee mug. (Lately it’s been Spritzes with ½ Campari and ½ Aperol- I’m a sucker for light Italian cocktails)
Returning to the topic at hand, heres what actually happened. Mother Nature took our dreams of finishing harvest by Halloween, crumpled them into a metaphorical wad of newspaper, and tossed tossed dreams into a metaphorical dumpster fire that quickly consumed any thought of wrapping up harvest in the usual amount of time. After 10 whole weeks of waking up in the middle of the night to pick grapes, we “wrapped up” harvest on November 12th, my youngest kid’s 4th birthday. It was one for the books!
Why the long harvest? Well, remember my mention that it was a cool summer? It’s ok if you don’t, I’ll say it again. It was a cool summer meaning it took a while for some vineyard blocks to ripen and prior to plants going through veraison (the ripening process of grape berries) there was a long berry development phase. With all that extended time prior to ripening, fruit clusters got big, especially in the Chardonnay blocks. The result was that harvest continued on and on, early mornings and long days continued, and our team tried not to get sick of each other.
Luckily, we have an amazing crew here at Talley Vineyards and we found ways to keep motivated and pick on! In the end, we brought in a lot of fruit, we are very pleased with the quality, and we can finally call harvest complete!