Friday, October 16, 2009

Just beat it.

The rain, that is. I have never seen rain this hard during the harvest season in Napa. Light showers are fairly normal but a monsoon is a first.

We got over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours. This amount of water can really change things in the vineyard.

First, its too muddy to get a tractor into the field to harvest the grapes. (the grapes are actually harvested by hand but the tractor carries the fruit back to the winery).

Secondly, if the grapes stay wet too long they start to rot. Rain followed by warm and humid weather -the rot sets in and spreads much faster. Lots of people are worried. Check out the article "As rain lingers, vineyard worries mount", it sums it up pretty well.

How does this affect Prime? It doesn't! I was one of those who scrambled and begged to get the fruit harvested right before the rain fell.

My first call to my vineyard manager asking to pick as soon as possible was met with the same reaction the French Laundry would give a diner calling on Saturday for a 7PM reservation. He claimed to be so slammed with requests it would be over a week before they could pick the fruit. A few frantic calls later and my foreman Carlos was able to put together a crew and make it happen with a days notice. Well done Carlos...

The photos above show the beautiful Midoriya Hills Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the grapes being dumped into the de-stemmer and the leftover stems after the crushed grapes are sent into their tank to ferment. A surprisingly low 4.1 tons but an excellent harvest after all...

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