The peaceful, summertime quiet of the winery and the crush pad is officially over. The great wall of half-ton picking bins stacked up along the edge of the pavement is back. The press has been in operation every day, all day, for a week. And that beautiful, pungent smell of fermenting grapes is in the air. You can smell it up and down this gorgeous valley. To us, the smell is beautiful for two reasons, First, it is by itself a wonderful smell, of nature at work, of the cycle of all organic matter being used and transformed and reused. But the smell also hints of the finished wines to come and of the mind-altering, complex, lingering aromas which will develop over time, in the fermenter, the barrel, and the bottle, to be released much later in your glass.
As of today, all of our white wine grapes have been picked. That’s the earliest vintage ever for our Chardonnays. The flavors are tremendous, deep, rich, and full of brilliant spice notes. The acidity is bright and lively and promises to produce white wines of intensity and balance. Kirk and Derek are combing the Valley daily, taking fruit samples for tasting and for getting a Brix reading. Brix is a measurement scale to show the concentration of sugars in a solution, and this time of the year, it’s on everyone’s lips: “What is the brix?” This question is asked almost daily about any vineyard waiting to be harvested.