Though it is hectic at the winery I’d like to to start off by reflecting on the vents of the last few weeks. Mother nature has devastated eastern Texas, parts of Florida and the Carribean over this month. The devastation and loss has been felt throughout the country. We also have to take time to remember September 11th. I was still in High School at the time, getting ready for another day of classes when I saw it on the news. My sincerest regards and prayers go out to all those affected.
As for harvest, crews in the cellar are working 12-hour shifts; receiving upwards of 250 tons of grapes per day! The cellar air smells of ripe, fermenting juice-a truly beautiful aroma. The crews drain and press tanks, fill barrels with precious SLH Pinot Noir, rack wines and perform pump overs on fermenting tanks. These are just a few of the tasks at hand during harvest! The lab is receiving dozens of juice samples from our estate vineyards and testing for brix, TA and pH levels. Natalie, our lab technician, eagerly switches gears from juice to wine when she runs chemistry panels on finished wine to keep our bottling line running. This in turn empties tanks for the winery to continue receiving grapes. The winemakers continue to make blends to bottle, and make their way through vineyards to check ripeness, quality and tons. The vineyard team is constantly coordinating equipment, planning picking schedules and staying in constant contact with sourced growers. Needless to say, everyone is busy!
Though Mother Nature can be unpredictable and harsh at times, she has another more nurturing and gentle side. This is the side that provides us with a climate in the Santa Lucia Highlands that is temperate, modest and forgiving. It provides the grapes with a long, consistent growing season thus giving Hahn the best quality fruit to harvest. We started the week off hand picking Pinot Noir from Doctors vineyard and hand sorting the grapes into 3 ton open top fermenters. The grapes were yeasted and given nutrients to aid in fermentation. Their caps are punched down daily, a method used to allow the fermenting berries to be mixed, extract color, anthocyanins and tannins. Once primary fermentation is complete, the wine will go to barrels and one day become Lucienne Pinot Noir. Exciting stuff!
We are finishing up all the estate Pinot Noir, leaving the winery at 43% complete for estate harvested fruit. What’s left you ask? 220 acres of Chardonnay, some Grenache, Malbec and Merlot! No breathers yet, we still have a long way to go. Let’s keep this ball rolling, and hope mother nature continues to work in our favor.