Harvest 2011 UPDATE…

And the insanity continues. So far, so good. I am well and truly pleased with the quality of the harvest so far. All of the fruit to this point has been clean and healthy and delicious, and we’ll have natural alcohols in the range of 12.5-13% – making it another vintage that will play into our hands very nicely. The cooler years like this make it easy for us, when all is said and done. It’s the hot years when we’re battling over-ripeness that I find a lot more challenging.

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On the sorting line - life as we know it for the next few days...

Our bacon has been saved by a few weeks of sunny, dry, windy weather here at the end. It has also been saved by our vineyard manager Stirling Fox, whose diligence in the vines all year long has really made a difference. It seems that we are quite fortunate to be bringing in an abundance of healthy and happy grapes this year, as that does not seem to be the case across the board in 2011. There are reports of rampant rot and seriously under-ripe fruit coming in from assorted vineyards here and there. It looks to be overall a potentially very good vintage, but it’s clear it wont be universally excellent. I am thankful to be among the luckier ones.

With Kelley Fox after a long day on the line...

All that said, it wouldn’t be a Scott Paul harvest without some sort of weird disaster. At our new estate vineyard – Azana, in the Chehalem Mountains – the birds decided to have themselves a feast of unprecedented proportions. Over the space of 24 hours they basically attacked and consumed our entire crop  – we brought in to the winery a meager 1.3 tons from the 6 producing acres there. My rough calculations show that this fruit cost us about $35,000 per ton, making it potentially the most expensive fruit ever harvested in the Willamette Valley! As we do every year in the wine business, time to re-write the business plan again…

The winery full of Pinot - one of my favorite sights...

At least the quality of those 1.3 tons was excellent. As was the 6.33 tons we brought in from our blocks of Nysa Vyd. in the Dundee Hills yesterday. The winery is now full of fermenters full of grapes, awaiting fermentation to take off in a few days. In the meantime, I’m off to grab as much rest and sleep as I can get – we’ve got 20+ tons coming in from our blocks of Maresh tomorrow and Monday, and we’ll likely be processing around the clock until we’re done. More as it happens…