What's Up in the Winery: Harvest Moon
Astronomers were calling this month’s full moon a “super moon,” and super it certainly was. This time of year, the moon has another nickname, one that has stood for centuries to highlight the end of summer and serve as a reminder to celebrate this time of plenty.
A harvest moon.
For the last few weeks, Terra Blanca’s vineyards have been very, very busy. With the heat wave of June and July, not even the wildfires and their smoke could hold the vines back. Harvest is upon us, and Chardonnay is already picked and fermenting.
For a few days, we were uncertain which varietal would be picked next. Merlot and Syrah were in a dead heat for over a week, both ripening quickly and showing signs they were close to readiness. In the end, Syrah won the race, and Merlot wasn’t far behind.
For those unfamiliar with winemaking, the harvest is one of the busiest times for a winery. As soon as grapes are ripe, they must be harvested, pressed, and fermented. Each varietal ripens at a slightly different pace. Nebbiolo, for example, is the first vine to flower and the last grape to ripen, requiring a very long growing season, while Cabernet Sauvignon can be up to three weeks behind Merlot in ripening.
Don’t get us started on Petit Verdot. Its name means “little green” for a reason.
Crushing and fermentation is a constant balancing act of what is ready when, almost like a dance in how one fermentation tank empties just in time to receive the next batch of fruit.
If you’ve never experienced a harvest or seen a winery while it turns grapes into wine, now is the best time of year to join us for a tour. With so much going on, there is plenty to see and absorb. Though our tour guides are entertaining, it’s always more interesting to see the process in the works.
So come, join us, and help us celebrate the 2014 vintage!
Vedi, Vini, Vinum!