It’s midweek at the winery and the heat is upon us — lower 90’s at 2 in the afternoon! With the increase in mid-day temps, we are harvesting just a little faster as Brix levels rise. Still no rain in the forecast, but that should not be too surprising to anyone.
As I watch from my office window, a truck unloads 17 tons of clone 777 and Jackson 9 Pinot Noir. Earlier today we got roughly 20 tons of Smith Vineyard Pinot Noir, clones 667 and 777, and 23 tons of Hook Vineyard Pinot Noir, clone 777. All grapes were hanging from the vines this morning, but are now safely in the stainless steel confines of our tanks in the cellar.
Monday was quiet around the cellar with no grape deliveries and everyone enjoying Labor Day. However, a couple of guys came in to give the fermenting tanks their pump overs and punch downs. Pump overs are used to keep the fermenting juice saturating skins which tend to rise in the tank, buoyed by carbon dioxide given off by fermenting sugars. We do pump overs when the tank is too large to physically push the cap back down into the lower juice layer. When the tank is smaller (like an open top 3-ton fermenter) we do a punch down. We do this two to four times a day for a specific amount of time, dependent on Brix levels and winemaker’s instincts. Additionally, the Pinot Gris mentioned in the last our Sept 6th blog was racked. After sitting in a chilled tank for a couple of days, the juice cleared up as the pulpy sediments settled to the bottom of the tank. The clearer juice layer above the sediments was racked into a second tank, where we set it to around 58 degrees and added yeast to the batch. We also racked some to neutral barrels for an in-barrel fermentation.
Tuesday was a return to “all hands on deck” as we separated into two crews, AM crew and PM crew. Israel runs the morning crew and Izzy runs the night crew. 60 tons came from Block 5G in Doctor’s Vineyard, home of Jackson 9 and Jackson 16 clones. Still no Jackson 5 clone – that would be a real Thriller, wouldn’t it — maybe I should Beat It. Anyway, about 14 tons of clones 667 and Jardini came in next. Destemming and moving them into their tanks followed. Almost 90 tons of Ste. Philippe Vineyard Pinot Noir that was brought in last Saturday was yeasted by Liz and Natalie.
While all of the harvest festivities press forward, we continue to run the bottling line here at Hahn. SLH Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from 2015 is bottling all week – we are very excited about the new wines! With everything going on, it is important to remember to work safely, stay hydrated and keep the tunes up loud.
Tomorrow, we will not receive grapes, but this weekend will be big days for the crews. After a full day of wine making, that always means longer nights for the crew, as they are the ones tasked with cleaning the presses, tanks and the whole cellar. As busy as we are, it is a nice feeling to finish the long day with everything cleaned, even when it’s midnight and I can hear the distant sounds of bobcats and coyotes.