Today at 9:36 a.m. my colleague Diego, using a forklift, tipped a bin loaded with Sauvignon Blanc grapes into one of the presses at Starmont and harvest had commenced.
It’s been a bit of a slow burning fire this year. A cooler than normal summer has pushed us a few weeks behind a “normal” harvest schedule. A lack of a good long heat spell has also meant there doesn’t seem like there will be an onrush of early ripening fruit. Instead, it seems like a measured march into what could be very busy October and November. (There’s even some talk that we won’t get Thanksgiving off.)
I’ll be working in the lab and the cellar this harvest and I’m looking forward to not only seeing the production side again, but to see more of the analytical processes involved with harvest.
The start of harvest is always a fun, although bit tense time. While we’re all looking forward to the overtime and extra money the grueling hours and stress are not fun. Simple traditions, however, help keep you excited. This morning, us cellar guys gathered around with the winemakers, vineyard managers, lab staff and folks from the administrative office to toast another vintage with a glass of sparkling wine. It’s a nice tradition, practiced at many wineries, although some break out champagne to toast the last load of grapes for that harvest.
This harvest could well go deep into late November and perhaps even December depending on weather.
In the weeks leading up to today, many of my coworkers in the cellar would joke around with each other asking if “you’re ready for harvest?”
As our cellarmaster reminded us this morning: “It doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not. Harvest is here.”