Harvest Blog - September 8th
Last Friday, we celebrated the first load of grapes to come in, Pinot Noir from Smith Vineyard, with our “Blessing of the Grapes” tradition. Harvest has officially begun!
If there’s one word that sums up this week of the 2022 harvest, the word would be heat. California’s heat wave has made national news, as we’ve seen day upon day of triple digit temperatures throughout the state. We’re used to seeing heat like this for a day or two in late summer, but it’s unusual for it to last so long. The weather has pushed harvest into high gear, with fruit coming from our Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards as well as Paso Robles, Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley and Hames Valley.
The grapes look good though! We’ve been able to pick at peak ripeness, and we got ahead of the game by irrigating judiciously to ensure the vines have enough water to prevent dehydration. I’ve been in the vineyards continuously scouting blocks for the next pick. One of the ways I can tell if the grapes are ready – in addition to tasting them, of course – is to examine the seeds and pulp. I’ll squeeze a grape and if the seeds and pulp stick together, with the pulp being kind of jelly-like, I know they need more time. If the seeds are brown and separate from the pulp, I know it’s time to harvest.
I’m excited about the first grapes we’re about to bring in for our Smith & Hook Sauvignon Blanc. This is the second year we’ve picked grapes for this wine in two distinct time periods. The earlier grapes have less sugar and bring characteristic herbal flavors to the wine as well as nice, natural acidity. Grapes picked later have higher sugars and lower acid, and they tend to bring more tropical notes, guava, passionfruit and also pear. We love combining the two styles of wine to make a complete Sauvignon Blanc. It has quickly become one of my favorites!