Filed under: Vineyards | Tags: 2016 harvest, Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir
Over the weekend we headed north to Mendocino County to see how all of the Waits-Mast pinot noir vineyard sources are doing. Harvest is in full swing for many wineries already and we are getting close to picking our first fruit. We trekked up to Mendocino Ridge first to visit Mariah Vineyard. Fog was rolling in as we arrived at the vineyard on Saturday morning and owners Dan and Vicki Dooling told us that it was the first fog that they’d seen in about two months. We walked the rows with them and based on the color (there were still some green berries), taste of the fruit and sugar measurements (our winemaker Shalini brought along her portable refractometer), the Doolings are estimating that harvest for us is about 2 to 3 weeks away.
We then headed to Anderson Valley to take a look at Nash Mill Vineyard in the cooler, deep end of the valley. Although much of the fruit has changed to a lovely color of purple, we were actually seeing greener seeds than we did at Mariah. As harvest approaches, another sign of ripe fruit is a browning of the grape seeds.
Our final stop for the day was Deer Meadows Vineyard, where ripening was further along (as expected) and the grapes were tasting sweeter than in some of the other vineyards. Usually one of our earlier picks, Deer Meadows will likely be harvested soon.
Visits wrapped up on Sunday, with a drive out to Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche. Closer to the coast, it’s the coolest site that we source from and that was in evidence as we drove through the mist en route on our morning drive to the vineyard. Some clusters of fruit were still changing from green to purple and the taste also reflected that harvest will be later in this vineyard than in our Anderson Valley sites. Finally, we headed back to Anderson Valley to stop by Wentzel Vineyard. As predicted, it’s likely to be our first pick for the year.
The countdown is on and as we’ve been expecting, harvest seems to be about a week behind last year. In 2015 we had our first pick on August 29 and our last pick on September 15, so we shall see in the coming weeks how this year shapes up. So far everything is looking good!
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