This morning we woke up early to get ready to welcome our Labor Day guests. What a joy it is to share harvest-time with wine aficionados eager to connect with wineries and wine makers hard at work producing some of our best wines.
To our surprise, many blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Stags Leap District had reached the perfect point of maturity making the harvest of the fruit a first priority. How delightful it was to see hands busy at work lovingly picking clusters of grapes.
There are many factors affecting the readiness of the fruit; among them the microclimate, slope, hours of sun exposure and type of soil. Through careful monitoring and sampling wine makers are able to pull the trigger and begin harvesting the very moment the fruit reaches its peak.
Harvesting grapes at night allows the picking to occur when the temperatures are cooler. This helps workers stay cooler and be more productive while doing a physically-intensive task. Night picking also allows for the sugar levels in the grapes to be more stable, the quality and acid levels are better, and there is less chance of spoilage. Picking at night also improves efficiency when it comes to chilling the grapes. Less time is needed to pre-cool the grapes before the wine makers begin the process of pressing and fermenting.
During the day grapes can reach temperatures over 100 degrees. For the pressing and fermenting process to begin the fruit must be about 55 degrees. With this in mind, night picking absolutely makes sense.
Night harvest also reduces problems like bee stings, snakes and heat exhaustion. Because time is of the essence to ensure consistency in the quality and maturity of the fruit workers are likely to complete 12+ hours shifts.
We raise our glasses to our friends and neighbors whose hands are busy at work remaining awake that we may all benefit from the gifts of the land. If you are interested in visiting Napa during the harvest give us a call or send us a quick email. We look forward to coordinating your wine tasting activities.
Happy Labor Day!
May The Harvest Be Plentiful.