October is my favorite month! Our chances of actually getting rain are increasing along with the length of the shadows. October reminds me of the changing leaves, returning to school, that autumn smell and my birthday — which I share with Margaret Thatcher, Paul Simon and Marie Osmond.  Weeks have gone by and grapes are coming into the winery daily to a crew that is in sync with one another. Our bodies and minds have adjusted to the longer work days with a heightened focus on fermentations, pressing and tasting young wines. Coordinating all aspects from vine to wine takes a dedicated team, and ours is the best!

As of today, we are 81.4% complete. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are done and in the books! Syrah is only 3.5% complete and we plan to bring in 3 trucks of Syrah from Hook Vineyard tomorrow. I love it when this purple luxurious wine comes into the winery! Malbec, Merlot and the remaining Grenache are still out there. In the tanks, the cold-fermented Pinot Gris is dry and the lees are settling. By mid-November, we could very well have this wine in bottles. This wine does not get any barrel aging and is all stainless steel fermented with almost no aging. This is a very pure expression of the vineyards sites and the crisp, viscous, fragrant character of Pinot Gris from SLH and Arroyo Seco. All of our Ste. Philippe and St. Nicolas Vineyards from Arroyo Seco are drained and pressed and the lees are settling. Soon, we will rack these tanks and begin the process of choosing the oak regimen for this year’s wines. Chardonnay from Lone Oak are in the barrels fermenting away. Should be dry by mid to late November. This is a long time, but our barrel cellars are quite chilly due the cold nights we get here. Quality is very high as the dry spring and summer months are coaxing the wines, moving them from “great” to “exceptional” category. Color is deep and vibrant. Tannins are brisk, bold and velveteen. There are so many reasons to be grateful and enthused!

Harvest could very well be complete by Halloween. Once the final grapes come in, we still need to ferment and press them out. Then the season of lab analysis begins as we get wines into barrels and put to bed for the holidays.  Plenty of work ahead!

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The last of our Chardonnay arriving by the 1/2 ton.

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A potential for rain makes is way over the Santa Lucia Highlands and Salinas Valley.

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Delicious Chardonnay being pressed and prepped for fermentation.

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Watching Pinot Noir right before it is moved to a barrel.

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Beautiful vistas are everywhere you look at the winery.

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Liz checking the brix level on Sryah that just arrived.

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Stars shine overhead as Chardonnay is pressed.