It’s an exciting time around the winery as we anticipate the grapes coming in!
As of last week, our 2020 vintages have all been bottled. Between different wines and different bottle sizes, that’s twenty different skus that will now age in the bottle for a while until ready to be released. Now we’re rearranging the tank rooms to accommodate all of the fermenters, which had to be moved outside for bottling. Used barrels are being steamed to prep them to receive this year’s new wines, new barrels are coming in for staining and numbering for the 21 vintage, and all equipment is being tested for harvest.
Our overall impression of the upcoming harvest is that the berries are small, and in some cases absolutely tiny, which should lead to darker and softer wines than typical. (Small berries have a higher skin to juice ratio, more color, and fewer seeds, so fewer potential tannins.) The growing conditions this year, from relatively cool temperatures to the resulting small berries, are comparable to 2015.
There is tremendous variation in ripeness at the moment, with Pinot Hill lagging behind Hallberg Ranch, and within Hallberg Ranch there is a lot of variation from vine to vine. This will make our job of tracking ripening and estimating harvest of each block more difficult. Fortunately for us, we know that Hallberg fruit is extremely forgiving, and there really isn’t a perfect ‘sweet spot’ of ripeness; we have made delicious wines from each clone in each location from a range of sugar levels. Accuracy of sampling is great when you can get it, but it’s not necessarily required to make fantastic wines from our fruit.