This week, we reached the top of our mountain of fruit coming in and are on the downswing. Up to this point, we have only harvested Pinot Noir. Our harvest is now just over 50% finished.

We finished picking all our SLH Pinot Noir except one small block up above the winery.  The irony of it is that the two blocks above the winery ripen very differently. Way up top, we have a clone planted called Calera. Year in and out, it is always the first Pinot Noir to be picked.


Just below it, we have a clone we call Jardini.  This is always the last block to be picked. In fact, a few weeks after that massive Labor Day weekend heat spike, it is still ripening slower than anything else, sitting at a sugar of 23.5 Brix. Once we hit a Brix of about 25 we really focus on whether the seed ripening in the grapes have developed enough for us to pick. Our theory is that because this block of Pinot was grafted onto 40 year-old Cabernet Sauvignon roots that are deeper than other roots around it, it is much more resilient to heat and slower ripening.

As we taper off the harvest of Pinot Noir, we have begun to plan for small lots of Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Chardonnay is all hand-picked, pressed whole cluster, settled for 36 hours then racked to barrel for fermentation.

Paul checking Smith CH (4)

As we keep pushing on here at the winery, we hope everyone’s week is full of excitement, because hey, it’s harvest season!


paul signature new

Paul Clifton