2007 Harvest Notes

2007 Harvest 9/24/2007

Kenwood Vineyards:the vines a head start so the vineyards were ready for harvest a little early this year and we started picking

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in late August. The first grapes to come in were Sauvignon Blanc and we were immediately impressed by their quality. They were full of flavor with excellent acid and sugar balance. The weather stayed warm and soon Merlot and Pinot Noir were ready, and by the end of August we were working 12+ hours a day just to keep up with the ripe fruit. Yields were low on Sauvignon Blanc as well as Merlot, down about 10%, but they tasted great.

After the first week of September the weather cooled and harvest slowed down considerably as we started to bring in the Cabernets and Zinfandels. We finished our Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc on the 15th and our last Russian River Chardonnay vineyard comes in tomorrow. And the first vineyards of Chardonnay that come in this year are starting to go dry and barrels are beginning their malo-lactic fermentation. Today, I would say that we are about three quarters of the way finished with harvest and we are focusing on bringing in Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernets have really benefited from the extra hang time that the cool weather allowed and even though it is pretty early in the game 2007 is shaping up to be a great vintage, particularly for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pat HendersonSenior WinemakerKenwood Vineyards.

Valley of the Moon WinerySecond HarvestThe 2007 crush was shaping up to be an early year across the board when a little heat wave was pushing many vineyards over the ripeness line during the first half of September. A dry spring, and moderately warm summer temps (without much in the way of heat spikes), allowed for ripening to occur on the early side, especially in some of the lighter bearing vineyards. By the end of the first week of September it seemed the entire county would be ripe and ready to be picked at one time. At VOM we were pressing whites and crushing reds every day, putting Chardonnay to barrel for fermentation, digging out red tanks, and looking for our tank stretcher.

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On about the 13th of September the weather abruptly changed to cool and foggy for several days. The following week remained cooler and we ended this break in summer weather with an unseasonable rain storm giving us a bit of precipitation on Sat. the 22nd. We didn’t see enough rain to give us any serious concerns about botrytis with most of the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel already in the barn. This weather did stall many vineyards and we’ve been on a bit of a holding pattern for about 10 days. We’ve seen a warm up this week and we are starting to roll again tomorrow with 156 tons of reds scheduled to crush, including our estate Barbera and Petite Sirah. In total, we have about 650 tons of reds left to crush at VOM. It will seem like a second harvest after receiving only 30 tons over the last week and a half.

All in all, quality looks very good to excellent with the moderate growing season, average crop load, and small cluster and berry sizes.

Some VOM highlightsWe started on Aug. 13 with Chardonnay, then Chenin Blanc for Korbel Champagne, pressing 984 tons in two weeks.

We brought in the entire estate Sangiovese block for the Rosato program on Aug. 24 – should have about 2200 cases to bottle.

All of our Pinot Blanc vineyards are in, picked between Aug. 27 and Sept. 12. We hit our mark on ripeness for all blocks and the fermentations are progressing nicely.

We received our first reds, including some Dry Creek Merlot on Aug. 31, yes reds in August!!!

Our Carnerros Pinot Noir fermentations are all pressed off and the vintage appears to have more depth and color than the ‘06

We have designated two small stainless steel fermentations of Russian River Valley Chardonnay for an Un-oaked Chard program.

Most of our Zinfandel is in, including our ripe and jammy estate old vine, and some very nice Dry Creek Valley vineyards.

We are mostly waiting for Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah left to come in, with a little bit of Merlot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Cab Franc and Zin.

We held our ground through a little quirky wet weather and we will start our second harvest tomorrow.


Greg WinterWinemaker Valley of the Moon Winery

Lake Sonoma:The 2007 harvest has had a varied cadence. We started fast out of the gate with a short heat wave in mid August which had us at a rapid pace and bringing in the white varietals steadily to avoid high sugars. The Pinot Gris from Balletto Vineyards, a new addition to the LSW program, was spared from sun burn or excessive ripening due to a cooler west county Russian River appellation and was picked on September 9th with 23 tons at 23 Brix and 7.65 TA. It is currently in its final phase of fermentation and I am exited about its prospects which is exhibiting ripe melon and tropical fruit flavors and holding a crisp finish.

The weather reverted back to typical seasonal temperatures in early September and the Zinfandels followed right behind. The fruit looked healthy with no signs of excessive dehydration and flavors were vibrant and bright. Now after a short delay in picking due to mild precipitation, I am anticipating the Alexander Valley cabernets to be brought in sometime over the next week or two. The past rain should not be a factor in regards to grape quality and the weather forecast calls for warm temperatures this week which should dry off the vines rapidly and continue ripening the remaining fruit.

Dan AbelaWinemaker Lake Sonoma Winery