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Paul Clifton
October 21, 2022 | Paul Clifton

Harvest Blog - October 21st

As Patrick wrote last week, we’re at the tail end of harvest, with just a few “dribs and drabs” coming into the winery over the next several days. All of our Santa Lucia Highlands fruit is in; we’re just waiting for a few more grapes from Arroyo Seco and Paso Robles. October is usually one of the sunniest months in our area, with a warmth that allows our late-ripening fruit to finish. But the first two weeks of this month were some of the coolest I’ve seen in my years on the Central Coast, with a heavy marine layer of fog that lingered well into the afternoons. The last couple of days have brought more sunshine, however, and our few remaining grapes are soaking it up.

Last year we initiated a “guest vineyard” program under Lucienne, where we produce a single-vineyard wine from a renowned grower/vineyard site. In 2021 we made a Pinot Noir from the acclaimed Solomon Hills Vineyard in Santa Maria AVA, which we’ll bottle in 2023. This year I was able to access Pinot Noir from the iconic Bien Nacido Vineyard, also in Santa Maria. And here’s the funny thing: when I was just starting out in winemaking, the first wine I made came from this exact same block – the same vines – in Bien Nacido. That was in 1997, 25 years ago! I’ll never forget the aromatics of that Pinot Noir, and I have high hopes for this one from 2022. Talk about coming full circle. 

With this being our last blog post of harvest 2022, a little review is in order. It was an unusual season, marked by the week-long heat spell in early September. But our vines held up and I’m proud of the way our team moved quickly to get our early-ripening fruit into the winery. With most of our lots through initial fermentation, I’ve been able to taste through the wines and I’m really happy with the quality, particularly how the acids have held up. I always say that when wines taste this good early on, you know it’s going to be a good vintage.

Before I sign off, I want to acknowledge our hard-working vineyard and winery teams. Sometimes people think that the winemaker is the one who does everything, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes a team to make wine, and I’ve found that if the people have as much passion for making great wine as you do, the wines will be the best they can be. I’m lucky to have people like that at Hahn, including veterans who’ve been here as long or longer than me, and newer hires that are learning the ropes. The key is having good people, and I’m thankful that we have the best.

One final note: I hope to see you at our Harvest Celebration this Saturday, October 22 from 11am to 3pm here at the Hahn Estate. In addition to our vineyard and winemaking teams we’ll be joined by Caroline Hahn and her husband, Richard. Our Doctor’s Vineyard is named for Caroline, who is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a great ambassador for the winery. I know I speak for Caroline and Richard when I say they can’t wait to welcome you to Hahn!

Thanks for reading!

Paul Clifton
Director of Winemaking


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