Harvest 2016 has begun! It starts with remembering vocabulary from last year. Things like punch downs, pitching, fermentation and overtime are on the front of our palettes. Last year’s harvest was smaller than average, but this year’s looks closer to “normal”. Excitement is tangible, motivation is high, preparations are done and all we need are grapes!
With a focus on producing luxury and ultra-premium wines we are sourcing grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, Monterey County, San Antonio Valley, Paso Robles, and Lodi. These grapes will result in wines for our six labels: Hahn, Hahn SLH, Lucienne, Winery Selections, Smith & Hook and Boneshaker.
We plan to harvest around 3,750 tons from our 1,100 acres of Estate vineyards. The vineyards will give us Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Gris and Merlot. In addition to our Estate Vineyards, we are receiving grapes from select vineyards that have delivered premium grapes for years. From the 3,500 acres of sourced grapes come our Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre and Petit Verdot.
Harvest began on Tuesday, August 30th. Pinot Noir from Hook Vineyard, block FH, had the honorable distinction of being the first picked this year, as 9 tons of clone 667 were harvested. Next, we picked 14 tons of clone 943 from Smith Vineyard, block HS. Hand-harvested in the dark, early hours and brought to the winery in half-ton bins, the fruit was gently crushed, de-stemmed and moved into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. As is our tradition, our newest cellar crew members, Cooper and Leander, had the honor of releasing the first grapes from harvest.
Thursday and Friday, just before the Labor Day Weekend, we brought in our Lone Oak Pinot Gris. Last year, only 20 tons of Pinot Gris was harvested from our Lone Oak Vineyard, but this year, the same area gave us 48 tons! This weekend, we plan to bring in three loads of Pinot Noir from our Arroyo Seco Estate Vineyard, Ste. Philippe, which will go into our Hahn Pinot Noir.
It’s Friday night here at the winery, everyone has gone home and the winery is quiet. The Pinot Noir from earlier in the week is fermenting in tanks, sugar levels are dropping and alcohol levels are rising — the magic of fermentation! Pinot Gris is settling for a couple of days before we rack the clean juice into another tank for a cold fermentation. With the unique sweet smell of a grape lingering, that familiar tickle of CO2 in the air and the shadows growing longer by the day, I know one thing. Fall is here… harvest is here!