Barrels Of Fun, But Still No Grapes

They say a watched pot never boils, and that’s kind of what it feels like right now around the winery. All of the anticipation with none of the real action. But rest assured, we’ll be ready when the day finally arrives. There is always work to do around the winery and the vineyards. Just because we’re waiting on Mother Nature doesn’t mean we’re not in full harvest mode at B Cellars.

Harvest 2023 By the Numbers


In The Vineyard

If you have ever planted your own garden and grown your own fruits or vegetables, you know that your crop doesn’t ripen or mature evenly. Grapevines (and the clusters of grapes they produce) behave in much the same way. In an effort to focus the vine’s energy on the dominant clusters, we “drop fruit” or “green harvest”, removing the unwanted clusters and leaving them to decompose in the vineyard soil.

This is also the time of year that we start walking the vineyards. Most recently, we visited the prestigious Hudson Vineyard in the Los Carneros appellation where they have been growing stunning fruit for over 40 years. We were there on a typical morning under a cool, grey marine layer. In some of the pictures, you can see the line in the distance where the sun has burned through. It’s a breathtaking property, nestled in the rolling hills at the southern tip of Napa Valley. The cool nights and mornings are part of the magic of Hudson Vineyard and the Syrah and Merlot that we produce from their fruit.

In The Winery

One of the most iconic symbols of winemaking is undoubtedly the oak barrel. Every year, we retire a certain percentage of our oak barrels, meaning that new barrels will need to be acquired for the next vintage. Ideally, the new barrels arrive at the winery just before harvest begins. We’ve been busy with deliveries of brand new french oak barrels from some of our favorite coopers. Nadalie, Tonnellerie Berger, and Vicard were all delivered in the past week. They’ve been unwrapped, sorted, and are resting comfortably in the cave. In just a matter of weeks, these 59-gallon casks will be imparting the nuances of the wood and toast level into the 2023 vintage wines!

We’ve also cleared the space around the concrete egg, which is hidden in a secluded corner of the cave. This tank will hold some of our white wines for a period of time after pressing. The concrete has a natural porosity, just like a barrel, but it imparts no flavors into the wine. The result is a smooth, harmonious wine that retains the personality and character of the fruit.

On The Crushpad

The waiting game and staging dance continue on the crush pad. We’ve received some of our smaller stainless steel fermentation tanks for the season, and the processing equipment is ready to go. If you visit on the right day, you’ll see 1/2 ton bins of red grapes being dumped onto the shaker table, where our crew will pull out any extras that may have come in with the harvest – leaves, bark, etc. From there, the clusters travel up a conveyor belt and drop into the destemmer which removes the individual berries from the stems. The stems fall into a bin, and the berries zoom through the optical sorter. After all is said and done, we end up with perfect grapes to start the winemaking process.

The Great Wall is already undergoing constant transformation. 1/2-ton bins are going out and 1-ton bins are being cleaned and organized. What will the wall look like tomorrow? Make a reservation and come see for yourself!


B Cellars Rosé
2022 Rosé
B Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
2022 Sauvignon Blanc
B Cellars Blend 23
2022 BLEND 23
B Cellars Star Vineyard Chardonnay
2021 Star Vineyard Chardonnay