2012 Harvest: Week 1

Harvest 2012 is now upon us! All of our hard work in the vineyard is now coming to fruition and it’s time to make the best wine we can from the best grapes we have grown. Last week I posted a little growing season recap, one subject that I failed to address, that many have been asking about, is how this years extremely smokey conditions will affect the wine. Smoke taint is a real thing in wine although it is not well researched and poorly understood. In 2008 many Pinot Noir producing wineries the Anderson Valley dealt with smoke taint, the large producers brought out the big guns in an attempt to keep their wines a consistent product: reverse osmosis machines and heavy filtration…never a good thing with Pinot Noir! In truth every vintage has its own character and I believe the term “taint” is a misnomer. The 2012 wines may or may not have a smokey hint to them, at this point we do not know. Whether they do or do not though, is the character of this vintage! What fun would it be if every bottle tasted like the same over processed wine year after year? So, how has this years smoke affected the wine? We don’t know yet but we are sticking to our traditionalist guns and letting the grapes speak for themselves.

Yup, that's the sun. The Snake River Valley was saturated with hazy condidtions for most of July, August and September.


We began harvest last week on September 16th with our Muscat Canelli. Not quite the earliest harvest ever (Sept. 13th 1993, side note: if you want to see what a “bad” year looks like, check out the temperature charts that year!) still a solid two weeks ahead of the average harvest date. Muscat is an early ripener and since we don’t have much of it planted, we always pick it ourselves. Luckily we had some help from the great folks at Crush wine bar in Eagle and we made quick work of the picking. Unfortunately though, yield was much lower than we expected, although quality was high: ripe flavors of Mandarin Orange and Peachie O’s, great acidity and perfect sugars. Could not have started harvest off any better!


2012 Muscat Canelli, you will drink this wine sometime next summer...if you're lucky!


Next up on the harvest list was Sauvignon Blanc from the beautiful Starlight Vineyard. Again, a small amount so we picked it ourselves, amazing flavors and perfect chemistry. If you didn’t get a chance to try last years Sauvignon Blanc before it quickly sold out you better act quick this year, like the Muscat, yield was down slightly so we will not have much.

Although these are not the numbers that we picked at, they are pretty close. Amazing acid this year, which is so vital to good Sauvignon Blanc.

Tammy and Bill picking Sauvignon Blanc


This nice slow start to harvest has ended though and we are now in full swing. Pinot Noir is rushing in the doors, Chardonnay is now in the fermentor and more Pinot is coming in tomorrow, quickly being followed by Viognier, Tempranillo, Malbec and Merlot. Before we know it these wines will be in the barrel and harvest will be done. Until then, stay tuned for more harvest updates or better yet, come on out to the winery and check out the process in action.