We have now just passed 500 tons of grapes picked. We have completed Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, most of the Chardonnay, all Semillon (except for late harvest). We still have some Syrah to pick, although very little. We are picking Cabernet Sauvignon daily now, along with Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Roussanne and are just beginning Petit Verdot. I am quite pleased with how the harvest is turning out.
We have been short on crew, but we are getting the work done. The weather is becoming much cooler, colder, with most morning in the 30’s and the days in the 60’s. We still have many tons to pick and with the changing weather I expect many wineries to be making up their minds to pick soon. We’ll do our best to bring grapes in, but I am limited in crew numbers.
I believe the fruit quality will be very high this year. The Cabernet Sauvignon is showing strong fruit character and is holding up well. The cooler weather we have seen has given us a little more hang time.
Looking forward to tasting this year’s Merlot. The clusters were smaller than normal with lighter set and, due to the high heat July onward, smaller berries. Sunlight in the lighter loose cluster reaches all sides of the berry and there is a higher skin to volume ratio. Typically, I leave 19 to 21 clusters in the Merlot to reach target yields. In 2017, based on cluster size, lower set and berry size, we left 28 clusters per vine and yields ended up right on target.