Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

That title pretty well sums up the last couple of weeks at B Cellars and the influx of fruit arriving at the winery. The rhythm of harvest continues to build to a more steady pace, with grapes arriving from vineyards across Napa Valley and Sonoma. In the last two weeks alone, we have picked 9 different varietals ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon and everything in between! While the pace of harvest won’t slow down any time soon, we’re thrilled to announce that the white wine harvest of 2023 is complete as of today. Now, all eyes shift towards the red varietals. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for warm, sunny days ahead.

In The Vineyard

We’ve had activity in multiple vineyards up and down the Napa Valley and throughout Sonoma County. Last Friday, we picked Chardonnay from the Beckstoffer Carneros Lake Vineyard, located just south of Napa. That’s right, we’re making a white wine from a Beckstoffer Vineyard! This is our second harvest from this vineyard, which maintains the same quality and growing practices that we’re all accustomed to from his six heritage vineyards. The 2022 vintage currently resting in barrel in our cave and it’s a beauty. In fact, it’s so good, we decided to make it available as a future. If you’re interested in securing your share of this wine, please give us a call. We expect to bottle just about 200 cases, so it won’t be around long!

Warmer up-valley temperatures also pushed Kennefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah to optimal ripeness and nearly 7 tons were picked on Saturday. Cooler than average temperatures in Sonoma County allowed Jewell Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc to hang a bit longer this year, adding a remarkable depth and complexity to the flavor profile. Is it too early to start dreaming of spring?

Just this morning (Tuesday, October 10) we finished the white wine harvest with the remaining blocks of Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay. Visitors to the Valley will start to see these vineyards display the beautiful colors of fall. With their job complete, the vines will slowly transition into dormancy, but not before offering us a splendid display of yellow, orange, and red across the valley floor and hillsides.

In The Winery

This is about the time during harvest that you really start to see what your production team is made of. The winery is full of wines at various stages of the production process and daily tasks are as plentiful as they are diverse. In any given day, our team is processing new fruit, tending to fermentation tanks, moving barrels in and out of the cave, cleaning presses or tanks, and prepping the equipment to start all over again with another lot/vineyard/varietal.

Punch downs and pump overs continue for our fermenting wines in tanks and bins and our harvest interns have the muscles to prove it! We’re also taking tank samples of the wines as they progress through the fermentation process. We tried a 2023 Manzana Pinot Noir tank sample a few days ago, and the fruit flavors were off the charts. There was still plenty of sugar left to convert to alcohol, but the sweet, slightly effervescent young wine has all the makings of a showstopping Pinot.

On The Crushpad

One of the milestones we all look forward to during harvest is the day the optical sorter gets fired up. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah kicked off our use of this remarkable machine over the weekend. The process starts by dumping the 1/2 ton bins onto the shaker table, where we pick out leaves, bare stems, and anything else that doesn’t belong. The fruit is shaken onto a conveyor belt that carries the clusters to the destemmer machine, which does exactly what its name suggests. It removes the berries from the stems, sending the stems down to a waiting catch bin while depositing the berries onto a fast-moving conveyor belt. The optical sorter zooms the berries through, discarding any “imperfect” grape with a precise blast of compressed air. As the bin fills with individual grapes (that look an awful lot like blueberries), we add dry ice pellets to keep the temperature low to inhibit any spontaneous natural fermentation. Full bins are dumped into a tank, and when associate winemaker, Derick Taylor, is ready, he’ll add yeast and begin the fermentation process.


Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay
2021 Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay
B Cellars Star Vineyard Chardonnay
2021 Star Vineyard Chardonnay
Brown Ranch Pinot Noir
2021 Brown Ranch Pinot Noir
Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
2021 Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon