Harvest 2017 kicked off the final week of August. We started with the perfect Viognier in the picture above. This Willow Creek District Viognier has been the foundation for our white wine program since 2014. We pressed and barreled into neutral French oak immediately after receiving the fruit. The fermentation started native, using the wild yeast on the grapes themselves, and then we inoculated with a commercial yeast to finish up. The wine finished yesterday and looks, smells, and tastes great. We'll consolidate the barrels and tuck them away to allow the lees (yeast cells) to settle.
Shortly after the Vio we harvested Malbec from a small family vineyard in Paso Robles. Just like last year I took Reagan with me to pick. The vineyard is relatively new and this is the first real crop at 1.3 tons. The fruit was ripe with incredible flavors. We sorted, destemmed, and consolidated the must into a 1-ton fermenter. It stayed there for a few days cold soaking before starting a native fermentation just like the Viognier. After 36 hours we inoculated with my favorite Malbec yeast and away she went. The fermentation is almost complete and has yielded one of the darkest wines we've ever made. Even better the wine smells like chocolate covered blueberries and has more flavors than I can even identify!
The weather is really cool now with highs only in the 70s so we don't expect any other grapes for a few weeks.