September 20, 2016 / Napa / Harvest 2016
Well the “eagle landed” on September 12, 2016 in the cool of the early morning hours. The ~ 4tons of clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were hand-harvested by the vineyard team and whisked a short distance from Block 6 of Vittorio’s Vineyard in St. Helena to the winery. Once at the winery we weighed each bin and got to hand-sorting the clusters on the conveyor belt. We removed any M.O.G. (material other than grapes) and fruit that doesn’t meet our requirements. The clusters then made their way to the destemmer where the berries and stems are separated; berries to “T-bins”, stems to the compost pile. We use “T-bins” as our fermentation vessels and meticulously monitor the fermentation in each bin separately making adjustments, as needed, to keep the yeast “happy” and doing their job. The fruit in each bin is punched down by hand twice daily to equilibrate temperature and to extract color, tannins and aroma compounds from the Cabernet Sauvignon berries. One of the inspiring parts of winemaking on this scale is how all your senses are involved are with each fermentation – sight, smell, sound, touch and, of course, taste! Being an active participant in a wine “coming into being”, from the vineyard to when you first barrel it down is very satisfying creatively. Down the road it is even more fun & satisfying to share a glass with friends!