Journal | September 8, 2016
Big, Hot Pick
Wednesday, September 7 marked the beginning of what looks like a very intense, productive couple of weeks of harvest and crush. The result of this hot, dry weather, most of the whites are ripening simultaneously. Our logistical challenge is to pick as much as we can without bringing in excessively warm grapes. Linden doesn’t bring in extra pickers, so our prementant production staff puts in extra hard and long hours.
We got a bit of a break yesterday as a cloudy morning kept temeratures relatively moderate. We started with Hardscrabble Sauvignon Blanc. What a joy it was to pick 100% clean fruit (no aninmal damage or rot). Leaves in the fruit zone had been removed before bird netting went up, which made picking all the easier (one didn’t have to search for the clusters, they were not hidden from view). I am concerned about low acidities due to the hot weather, so we picked everything including some clusters that were slightly underripe. The logic is that these clusters will provide more acidity to the juice and resulting wine. Sauvignon Blanc more than any other variety seems to benefit from some ripeness variability. We were able to rush the trailer loads of lugs (picking baskets) to the cooler very quickly. We would pick 4 or 8 rows, load the trailer and have the grapes in the cooler within an hour of being picked. Military-like organization is one of the rarely discussed keys to making great wine.
After lunch we decended on Avenius Vineyard (just a mile up the road from the winery) to pick the lower block of Avenius Chardonnay. Again, totally clean fruit and an easy pick. Despite the heat, I feel that we are catching the grapes in a good place in terms of acidity. The Avenius Chardonnay should be “classic” with good length and brightness. The grapes came in warmer than I would like, but our over-engineered cooler should be up to the job of removing the heat by crush time later today.