Inching Towards Harvest

Final leaf pulling on Petit Manseng vines

It’s that time of year again.. pre harvest. Our Petit Mansengs have undergone verasion and are starting to ripen, the bird netting is up, winery equipment and supplies are on order. Now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope the weather holds. Some area wineries have already started harvesting for their sparkling wines so we’ll likely see the first of our whites in the next week or so.

Bird netting is up!

As if the imminence of an early harvest isn’t terrifying enough, we attended a pre-harvest class with microbe specialist Lisa Van de Water. Lisa runs Vinotec Napa, a testing and consultation lab, and refers to herself as “The Bad Wine Lady”. Our vineyard consultant Lucie Morton hosted a group of her clients to brush up on best fermentation and aging practices with Lisa. Many wine spoilers are hard to detect before it’s too late – and difficult harvest conditions can yield lots of undesirables if a winemaker’s not careful. Her number one rule of thumb? “Never trust a microbe”!

Learning to spot microbes

After going over various undesirable yeasts and bacteria, we took a look at a few of Lisa’s slides. Ok, so we can no longer ignore the fact that wine spoilers exist. Next step? Steaming the entire winery – barrels, tanks, drains, hoses. We want everything as clean as possible before harvest!

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