Sunday, September 25, 2022
HomeWineThe 2022 Harvest is on! - by Joseph Daniel

The 2022 Harvest is on! – by Joseph Daniel

We must always all do what, in the long term, offers us pleasure, even when it’s only choosing grapes or sorting the laundry. – E. B. White

Jumpin’ Jehosaphat, is it ever toasty on the market! Usually, once we get a heatwave this time of 12 months it turbo prices grape ripening and the harvest is available in early. However when it will get into the mid- to excessive 90°s for any prolonged time period the vines simply shut down together with any ripening. That’s what’s taking place now. It was 106° yesterday, and it’s forecasted for 108° as we speak!

I requested my grape guru buddy Ken Wornick of Dysfunctional Household Vineyard if he was accelerating any of his harvests to try to get some grapes in earlier than the worst of it, or if he was going to journey it out. His response was to “Undoubtedly irrigate and journey. No panic. Let that fruit ripen down the highway. It is going to take a beating and it’ll recuperate.”

It’s good to have a guru.

We’re choosing over 11 tons of grapes this 12 months however to this point solely two of these picks are getting shut, our Valley Merlot and a brand new Mountaintop Cabernet Sauvignon we examined final 12 months. They have been at 23° and 23.5° Brix respectively a number of days in the past, however we’re going to journey it out on each of them.

What did are available forward of the warmth with excellent chemistry and physiological cues, to not point out scrumptious style, was the Chardonnay we had deliberate to choose from the small personal Harf Winery in east Sonoma. Doing a grape sampling there every week in the past Wednesday I bought 23.5°Brix and a pH of three.22, which was candy sufficient to start out attracting the birds—and the bees—and it was clear to all of us that if we didn’t harvest by that weekend there may not be too many grapes left.

Lovely, ripe Chardonnay grapes prepared for harvest on the Harf Winery.

As soon as we dedicated to Chardonnay as one among our 2022 classic varietals it was a little bit of a mad rush to get ready. I dove into deep analysis as to what sort of Chardonnay I needed to make, what kind of yeast to make use of, and the way we have been going to course of the grapes. There was no query that the crisp, decrease alcohol, greater acidity, pure wine expression of the grape was intriguing, and that appeared to be the way in which all of the younger winemakers at Magnolia have been at the moment making Chardonnay.

However simply as with my crimson varietals, I needed to study the normal kinds related to every wine earlier than I ventured off into that courageous new world. So I sussed it out with my enterprise accomplice Bruce on the monetary implications and requested nearly everybody I knew their private choice with the wine. Ultimately I opted to make a standard, oaky, buttery, citrusy California Chardonnay, which nonetheless occurs to be the perfect promoting varietal in America.

That meant I used to be choosing at a little bit greater Brix whereas attempting to protect the acidity. I used to be going to let the wine undergo malolactic fermentation, which develops a compound known as diactyl—the supply of the butter taste. I used to be going to whole-cluster press, and I used to be going to each ferment and sur-lie age in once-used (just for Chardonnay) French oak barrels that I procured from these incredible people at Winery 7 & 8—who’re absolute masters of Chardonnay.

Magnolia cellar hand Jack steaming my lately acquired Chardonnay barrels to seal them and ensure they’re watertight and received’t leak.

Watch the video slightly below to expertise the unbelievable three days and one night time final week we skilled choosing, urgent and fermenting our Chardonnay. It’s all fairly a bit completely different than making crimson wine!

A couple of technical notes: We night-picked the Chardonnay at 23.5°Brix with a pH of three.63 and a Titratable Acidity of 5.95 g/l. For the reason that pH was a lot greater than earlier than and I knew it might go up some extra throughout alcoholic fermentation and once more throughout MLF, and for the reason that TA was now a tad low, I added sufficient tartaric acid to bump the pH down a tenth of a degree and the TA up 1 g/l. I fermented with 140 grams of Calvin CY3079 rehydrated in an answer of 175 g of Go-Ferm Shield Evolution dissolved into 48 ounces of 100° water, after which additional fed with our Chardonnay juice. CY3079 is a traditional pressure yeast used for barrel-fermented and sur-lie aged white wines—which is strictly what we’re doing. We’ll be growing old our Chardonnay within the two white barrels we bought from Winery 7&8 however we really wanted three to accommodate the fermentation quantity and maintain it from spilling over. To unravel that we took one among our lately acquired, once-used crimson barrels and bleached it out with an natural decolorizer to keep away from any switch of coloration into the wine throughout fermentation. Crossing our fingers on that one!

Final 12 months we misplaced just about all the grapes in two of the tiny vineyards we have a tendency—to birds that beat us to the harvest. These have been Bobbie’s Malbec Winery in Sonoma and Hassan’s Sangiovese Winery up close to Glenn Ellen. It was heartbreaking and we vowed by no means to let that occur once more. I’m glad to report that we stored that promise and this 12 months draped each vineyards (and a brand new one up in Bennet Valley) in facet fowl netting that we bought from Plantra.

Massive, candy, scrumptious clusters of grapes in Bobbie’s Malbec Winery reaching full ripeness this 12 months below the safety of Plantra’s facet fowl netting.

I really did not one of the work as I used to be touring in Colorado when the grapes started to get candy and the birds began to take discover. Bobbie and Deb, and our indefatigable neighbor Tom hooked up almost 4,000 toes of netting in three vineyards. It’s a variety of effort however the superb factor is that it actually works! We haven’t had a single cluster eaten by birds since we put in the netting. If the warmth doesn’t get us we’re going to have a banner harvests from all three vineyards.

Keep tuned!



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