Video: night harvesting Russian River Valley Chardonnay grapes

by on October 4, 2010

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Watching a picking crew harvest grapes is an unbelievable rush. Your eyes fight to follow the hooked knives slicing away at each stem. You hear the grapes shaking on the vines as the workers tug the canes. A tractor engine hums. You hear the men shout for more collection bins. But you can’t see anything–unless you follow the lights.

This is the beauty of night harvesting.

We harvest our Russian River Valley Chardonnay vineyards in the coldest hours of the night, so the grapes arrive cold with crisp acids, ideal sugar levels and brighter fruit flavors. This year’s harvest began on September 17 with one small block of Russian River Chardonnay, then crush kicked into high gear on September 29 after a brief heat wave September 24-27.

This footage, which features the picking crew at one of our favorite Russian River Valley vineyard sites along the east side of the river, was captured before dawn on September 29. (Update 2011: our latest night harvest video has been added below, too.)

Thanks to our friends at Cal Plans Vineyards for working so hard to ensure cold, pristine grapes are delivered to our winemakers.

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  • Ron Saikowski

    Canopy management is beautiful. Grapes are right at chest height. Perfect bunches for harvesting. What is the harvest yield (tons per acre) grape chemistry, grape maturity, and grape taste. I hope you do not mind me asking

  • Lorri Dennis

    Living in a household of TWO menapausal women, I would love to be part of a night harvest during the coldest temp. of the night!

  • http://www.jordanwinery.com Lisa Mattson

    Lorri — I can only imagine! It was very cool and refreshing outside at 4:00 a.m. :)

  • http://www.jordanwinery.com Lisa Mattson

    Thank you, Ron. Sorry I haven’t been able to answer all your enology questions. The Vineyard Manager and Winemakers are very busy right now, as you know. :) I will need to wait to gather information from them once things settle down. You can follow our twitter #harvest feed for regular industry updates @jordanwinery. I know that Chardonnay volume is down 25% due to removal of sunburned clusters. Sugars on Chardonnay thus far have been exactly where we want it: 23 Brix. And the fruit tastes great.

  • Jenny Watcerson

    It was certainly interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon. BTW, rather nice design you have here, but how about changing it once in a few months? I mean it :)

    Jenny Watcerson
    london incall

  • http://sharronclemons.co.cc/ Sharron Clemons

    Thank you, Ron. Sorry I haven’t been able to answer all your enology questions. The Vineyard Manager and Winemakers are very busy right now, as you know. :) I will need to wait to gather information from them once things settle down. You can follow our twitter #harvest feed for regular industry updates @jordanwinery. I know that Chardonnay volume is down 25% due to removal of sunburned clusters. Sugars on Chardonnay thus far have been exactly where we want it: 23 Brix. And the fruit tastes great.