Well, we’ve made it to “Half-Time” in the game of harvest. Due to the way Rhone varietals tend to ripen in the Santa Clara Valley we usually get 75% of our grapes arriving on the crush pad in mid-September. These grapes are processed, fermented, and moved to settling tanks by the first week of October. The remaining 25% of the grapes – the whites strangely enough – don’t arrive until the last couple weeks of October or even early November. This gives us about 10 days in the middle of October to catch up on paperwork, clean up the winery, take the dog to the park, maybe even sleep a little before it’s back to the harvest grind. So right now we’re at half-time; Grenache noir and rose, Syrah, Carignane, Viognier, and Marsanne are all in and done. Next week or the following we’re expecting Grenache blanc, Picpoul blanc, Roussanne and hopefully Mourvedre (if it ripens fully this year).
So far harvest has been pretty smooth. The fruit’s been a little uneven due to the huge heat spike we had in the first week of September but good winemakers will make good wine, even in off years. It might be the experience of several more harvest behind me talking but I think this has been the easiest one so far and we’re on the downhill slope. Famous last words.
Sounds like we’re just lazing around in the October sunshine, laying in the grass and watching the clouds, right? Nope. This weekend is the Fall Passport for the Wineries of Santa Clara county so there’s that craziness to prepare for as well as a few projects we’ve been putting off around the winery. We’ve gotten rid of the old carport cover that we were using for shade in the outdoor picnic area and replaced it with a number of “Shade Sails”. We put them up yesterday to check the layout but right now they’re only attached using cheap line that’s way too small for the job… and here comes the first of the winter winds. We’ve also put together a list of “Winter” projects for after harvest. On the top of that list is “Finish the Tasting Room” which includes running power and lights, insulation, heat, and a fancy ceiling. I know everybody likes the “rustic” look, and we promise not to get too far away from that, but I’m looking forward to being a little more like a nice winery and a little less like a tractor shed.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been stressing over preparations for the 2017 harvest. There’s always so much to do and something is going to get overlooked. It doesn’t do any good to worry… but I can’t help it.
This afternoon I found out that we can expect the first fruit to arrive at the winery on Thursday, September 8th – Eight whole days from now. My first reaction was pure panic – “how can we possibly be ready?” We have the 2016 whites and some custom crush bottle, the winery to clean, and equipment to prepare. On top of all that there’s a Wine Club release, Fall Passport, Campbell Wine Walk, and Noe’s Birthday party to plan.
About an hour later I realized that I’m much more calm than I’ve been in weeks. It’s finally here, harvest has arrived, and there’s nothing I can do about it except deal with the pressure. If there’s one thing I’m good at it’s dealing with pressure. Just knowing the date when it all starts was enough to take away all of the stress and anxiety.
So it’s that time of year, the time when things get crazy and fun. There are a ton of upcoming events and reasons to stop by the winery in the next few months so come on by and see what we’re like in crisis mode. It may not be pretty but it’s sure to be exciting!
Stop by and try the La Vie Dansante wines every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm.
We pour at “Blended, a Winemaker’s Studio” located on Dryden Ave east of Hwy 101 just north of Gilroy. Our tasting fee is $10 (refundable with the purchase of a bottle).
If you work the weekends give us a call at (408) 852-0779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a weekday appointment.
10/07 – Release of the 2015 Roussanne and 2014 Syrah
10/13-15 – Wineries of Santa Clara County 2017 Fall Passport. Reina Carillo from GVA Café is busy working up a special recipe incorporating fresh grapes (remember last year’s pizza?) for this fall’s Passport. We’ll have food to purchase and live music by… TBD for now but stay tuned and we’ll let you know as soon as we figure it out.
11/18 – Release of the 2016 Grenache Rose.
11/18 – Winter Wine Club Release for La Vie Dansante Wine Club Members. This is a release for the 12 bottle club members only but members of all clubs are encouraged to stop by and try the new wines.
11/25/26 – We will be open normal hours, noon to 5pm on Thanksgiving Weekend.
12/2 – Release of the LVD Wine Company “Stage Left”, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and a touch of Syrah.
12/23 – Blended Christmas Party! Last year was casual and a lot of fun. We’ll be showing Christmas cartoons and movies all day and enjoying holiday goodies with all of our friends.
12/24 – We’ll be closed on Christmas Eve to allow our staff to enjoy the holidays with their family.
12/30-31 – We’ll be open normal hours, noon to 5pm, on New Year’s Eve Weekend.