by Susan Evans, Shadow Run Vineyards
Harvest is a time of testing, tasting and tasting again—searching for the perfect balance of flavors, sugars and acids in the ripening berries. While the test numbers (brix, acids, pH) provide a framework for our harvest decision, the taste of the berries is our most important guide. Walking through the vineyard, popping berries in our mouths, we anticipate, wait for “ahhhh yes, perfect, yummy!” and we know it is time.
Harvest season is of course the beginning of the winemaking cycle and a feast for all our senses. From the half ton bins filled with cold purple grapes, to the sweet aromas of grapes bubbling in the fermenting tanks, we see vibrant color and discover sweet scents as we move from task to task . The fermenting Grenache Noir grapes gives aromas of cherry pie and we can already detect pineapple and lychee nut in our Viognier fermenting in oak barrels. It is also the time to choose just the right oak barrels to complement each wine, so we inspect empty barrels from past vintages, hoping to find the heady tobacco sweet fragrance that signifies a good barrel. And like any kid expecting a package, we delight in the delivery of brand new still perfect barrels. Harvest: our favorite time of year defined by sticky hands, sticky tools, purple-stained jeans and t-shirts and expectations of great wines.