Harvest 2012 has begun!

September 10, 2012

Last Friday we finally received our first load of grapes for the 2012 season!

To keep the grapes as cool as possible, the pickers started working at dawn. Joe Belli rolled in with his beautiful Chardonnay at around 10:30 Friday morning.

The fruit looks fantastic, and it tastes great as well.

These grapes are from block 3, which is planted to the Rued clone of Chardonnay. Rued is a musque selection of Chardonnay, meaning that it has just a touch of Muscat character. For those of you not familiar, Muscat is a very fruity, tropical flavor, reminiscent of pineapples and papaya. Eating some of the Rued Chardonnay grapes every year is a treat we all look forward to!

Once the grapes were off the truck, we took a brief pause to bless the grapes.

 

This is a tradition that Richard started back in the first days of Arrowood Winery. Richard, his wife Alis, and his daughter Kerry pour just a little bit of the prvious vintage of Chardonnay over the grapes as a way of wishing for another great harvest!

Once the grapes were blessed, we took them and loaded them into the hopper, which in turn moved them into the press.

We ‘whole-cluster press’ our Chardonnay, meaning that we do not remove the grapes from the stems before we load them into the press. This is a gentler way of processing Chardonnay, which means that we will avoid extracting harsh tasting tannins into the juice.

We received just under two and a half tons today. We have a very small press, so two and a half tons means that we have to load it twice over the course of the day.

Whole cluster pressing means you can fit fewer grapes in the press at a time, so we really had to be careful to use all of the space in the press to make sure we could fit it all in two loads.

Once the press was loaded we sat back and watched the pristine Chardonnay juice run out into the juice tray.

The juice has a slight brownish color now because it is high in grape solids (the pulp of the grapes). We immediately pumped it to small holding tanks where we chilled it down to allow the solids to settle out before fermentation.

This is a very exciting time for us here at Amapola Creek, harvest is always busy and full of beauty. We will be harvesting more grapes this week, be sure to check back to see what we’re up to!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

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