2014 Vintage

2014 VSV Harvest, September 20

     This year’s harvest was late again compared to the rest of the vineyards in Paso Robles but the numbers were not in the right range until this weekend. I was concerned that they may never get to the right levels but I was nicely surprised that we have what looks like reasonable sugar, and acid levels. There were a number of the lines that had a lot of “raisins” but in the end they will be just part of the character of the 2014 vintage. Bobbie and I came up on Thursday night and did some preparation of the food and the harvesting equipment so we could get right to work when we woke up.

The morning was overcast at the outset and that was welcome because we were concerned that it would be hot and that is always uncomfortable and not good for the wine. The crew this year was, Tom, Tina, Frank, Sharon, Bobbie, Hilary, Elan, Nick, Britni, and I. This was a smaller crew then last year by three, but everyone pitched in and worked all day. It was a long day, we ended up starting about 8:30 in the morning working on the Cab and completing it about 2:30 in the afternoon. We then used the new electric crusher de-stemmer which was able to do all 160 gallons of Cab must in about ½ hour. It was then time to have some lunch of Mac and Cheese, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and deli sandwiches with all the fixin’s.  After lunch Hilary and Elan needed to leave us to go to a wedding in Atascadero so we lost the extra row picking team. So then we took naps until about 4:30 and then went back down to the vineyard for the Merlot. We all picked until it got dark, about 8:30, and we got most of the non-raisin bunches picked. The Merlot was more “dry” then the Cab had been. Then we brought the grapes back up and again used the new crusher de-stemmer to generate 94 gallons of Merlot must. We cleaned all the equipment, I added the SO2 to the musts, and then went inside to have dinner. We were all very tired. Bobbie made h’ordeuvres,  tri-tip, zucchini, salad, bread, and wine.  Desert was apricot pie and brownies. We ended up eating at 10:30. We were all too tired to even enjoy a few glasses more of wine let alone karaoke. It was a very quiet night, with most everyone falling asleep soon after dinner. It was a very long day.

We all slept like babies (baby farm workers that is), and woke up Sunday morning ready to eat again. Bobbie went to a luncheon with Nick, Britni, Hilary, and Elan. But we had scrambled eggs, pastries, breads, and fruit. After breakfast I started the task of checking the numbers and making the adjustments. Everything was within the “good” window except the Merlot, which was a little light on acid, so I made the addition. Then we went ahead with the yeast food and yeast inoculation process and additions to the must. The fermentation started in the 4×4 bin and the white food grade containers. Now it was up to Bobbie to punch down the cap until the sugar went down to zero and we would be ready to do the pressing. This would take between one and two weeks of punching down the must twice a day.   We all relaxed and one group at a time everyone hit the road for the trip home. Lots of work and lots of food, but not much partying.


The morning was overcast when we started.


Breakfast, Saturday

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Brooke deserting us, back up to the house.


Crushing, De-steaming

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Lunch and Rest

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Dinner, Saturday Night


Breakfast, Sunday morning

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The must, starting to ferment.

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