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Paul Clifton
September 22, 2022 | Paul Clifton

Harvest Blog - September 22nd

Following 2 ½ weeks of nonstop action we had a short break in harvest this past weekend as the weather cooled. We even saw a little rain on Sunday, though it didn’t amount to much – just enough to shake the dust off the vines. The pause in picking gave us a chance to catch our breaths and catch up in the winery, where we’re busy monitoring fermentations, pressing off the skins and barreling down the new wines.

Still, it’s amazing to me how fast harvest is going. I don’t think we’ve ever moved as quickly through the Smith, Hook and Doctor’s vineyards as we did this year. This week we’re bringing in the last Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Lone Oak, our northernmost vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Lone Oak is a slightly cooler vineyard, with fog that sticks around longer during the day, so it’s normal for us to pick it later than our other SLH vineyards. Even with the heat we experienced a couple weeks ago the grapes at Lone Oak needed more time to ripen.

Next, we’ll move into Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Arroyo Seco for the Appellation Series. And the Cabernet Sauvignon from further south continues to come in at a steady pace. I anticipate the last grapes to be picked will be Grenache and Syrah, which is normal for us. At the rate we’re going I expect to be done with harvest in early October, about 2-3 weeks earlier than usual.

With a fair amount of fruit in the winery, I’m getting a handle on how the vintage is shaping up and I’m very optimistic. I’m seeing great color, good extraction and acid levels in just the right range, even with sugars being a little higher than usual. I’ve got a good feeling about the wines from 2022.  

Paul Clifton
Director of Winemaking


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