My favorite fine wine growing time of the year is the fall grape harvest, crush, and fermentation. I shook off my fall lethargy to go spend a couple of days with my favorite wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley – Archery Summit and Dominio IV.
Anna Matzinger (on the left) who is a most gifted wine maker was showing us how to sort the pinot noir grapes before they went to the de-stemmer. There is something wonderfully fulfilling about spending a day on the sorting table contributing just a little bit to the 2012 grape harvest.
As I walked around the winery during a lull in the grape sorting I enjoy the early Halloween gifts of the cold soaks that invite me to shoot way too many photos or the “fog” flowing lightly down hill.
Today’s grapes were coming from Renegade Ridge, Archery Summit’s biodynamic vineyard that is a few hundred yards away from the winery. I wandered over the hillside to see what the grapes looked like before they were picked:
The Pinot Noir grapes showed the results of an almost perfect growing season. They were deep purple, tasted so sweetly tart, and showed no signs at all of any molds which can happen in a wet growing season. As I looked up, I could see the calm before the frenzied activity of the vineyard workings picking off the grape clusters.
As I wandered down the hillside, the rains came in great gulps, the first real rain of the growing season. With great reluctance, I went back inside the winery and continued the sorting of what I’d just seen picked.
Later that evening, I wandered over to see how Dominio IV was doing with the grape crush. I arrived just in time to see the master mechanic, Mordechai, at work on the de-stemmer as Leigh Bartholomew (co-owner and vineyard manager extraordinaire) inspected the grapes. I then enjoyed myself helping sort through the Rhone style grapes (Syrah and Grenache) from the Scorched Earth vineyard.
It just doesn’t get any better than spending a fall day seeing, feeling, and talking about the beginnings of a fine wine.