He who laughs last, laughs best, right? Well, in this case it was our boss, Mother Nature who got in the last rib-ticklers as we finish a record early (and quite light) harvest here on the California Coast. From Santa Barbara County to the shores of the Russian River, she served us up quite a mixed bag. Though the dust is still settling (and the last tanks still just starting to ferment), there are some things we are sure of. We know, for instance, that there are ten things about Harvest 2015 that no Winemaker said. Ever.
-(To local taco truck driver)-“It’s a slow start this year- don’t even worry about putting us on your rounds until September 15.”
-(To Assistant Winemaker)- “We don’t need to work a Sunday shift to start pressing tanks out. This Cabernet never gets ripe before the Chardonnay.”
-(To Grower Relations rep)- “I’m not interested in tasting anything unless it’s at least 25.0 Brix- I’ll come out and check on the Pinot in about two weeks.”
-(To Night Shift Supervisor)-“Go ahead and schedule tank 5A for a two-week extended maceration- we probably won’t need that tank for a while.”
-(To Farming Company Scheduler)-“Can I schedule in four Cabernet deliveries off of five separate blocks for tomorrow morning? There should be plenty of tucks available and you’re not busy, right?”
-(To winery owner)- “My estimates indicate we’ll have more than enough tons for our reserve Pinot Noir program.”
-(To key regional distributor team)- “Sure, come on out for a vineyard tour with your folks on October 1. I won’t even be started picking Cabernet by and there’ll still be plenty of Pinot left on the vine for you to taste.”
-(To national sales reps)- “There’s no way we’ll be done pressing before Thanksgiving- I just can’t come out to the East Coast until early December.”
-(To Cellarmaster)- “Are you sure we don’t have a bigger tank? I think these trucks are going to come in heavy.”
Alison Crowe is the Director of Winemaking for Plata Wine Partners and makes Garnet Vineyards, Picket Fence Vineyards as well as the popular “Buccaneer” wines (in addition to other projects). She lives in Napa but works with fruit from all over California’s coastal winegrowing regions. She is the author of the WineMaker’s Answer Book and is always amused how each Harvest is something different!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org @AlisonCroweWine
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