2007's harvest got off to an early start, driven by a dry winter and resulting low yields, and spurred by the warmest stretch of the summer in mid-August. Since we've hit mid-September, though, it's cooled off here, with daytime highs in the 70s, marine layer in the mornings, and nights in the 40s. This has meant that after our first rush of Viognier and Chardonnay we've had a leisurely time of it. Over the past two weeks, we did make our first pickings of Grenache Blanc and Syrah, and a few stray parcels of Roussanne and Vermentino, but the bulk (75%) of the harvest is still out on the vines, like this head-pruned Tannat vine below:
We did get a little early-season rain last Friday, but less than five-hundredths of an inch, not enough to do anything more than wash a little dust off the vines. The strange squall was the culmination of an odd cut-off low pressure system that stalled off the coast of Santa Barbara, but wasn't warm enough to pull in much moisture from the Pacific. We weren't particularly worried (Ryan Hebert, our Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Manager was actually hoping for a quarter-inch or so of rain to keep the dust down) but we're looking forward to the scheduled warm, dry weather of this week. It looks like we'll get our first lot of Grenache in tomorrow. One more photo, before I sign off: a couple of bins of Roussanne from last week, on the back of the tractor on what we call the "new hill".