Let Harvest Begin!

Had to share a great write-up from Steve Dutton of Dutton-Goldfield on the beginning of 2017 harvest.......

"Veraison, the time when the grapes begin to ripen, taking on sugar and color and softening skins, began in Russian River Valley in early July, and is well underway now. Most of our vineyards are anywhere from 40% to 100% through as we write this on August 15, with the cooler coastal sites like Freestone Hill at the low end, and our warmer inland vineyards up by Windsor almost ready to pick (and Syrah barely started at all). Typically, we expect the timing between veraison to harvest to be about 45 days, and with our last few weeks of warm (but not hot) weather, especially at night, things have been moving along. In July, we had a full week of hot weather, a rarity here, where the daytime temperatures hit 110 degrees and the nights were in the 90s. You might think that if warm weather is good for ripening, then hot weather must be even better; however, this kind of heat for such a long stretch actually stresses the vines causing them to shut down in order to preserve moisture."

"We should start to pick fruit around Labor Day weekend. Though we’ll once again make a small amount of sparkling wine from Devil’s Gulch, it’s unlikely that difficult spot will be the first fruit we bring in. My prediction is that the first Dutton-Goldfield fruit to come in will be our Bush Vineyard pinot on Upp Road, just west of the tasting room. The vineyard was planted in 2011 to Calera clone, at 7x4 spacing (7 foot wide rows, with vines 4 feet apart). This tighter spacing means there’s less fruit on each vine, making it quicker to ripen. As more vineyards are planted to this spacing, it will be interesting to see if harvests of the future hit their peak in early September, giving winemakers an early start to their post-harvest holidays."