After a slow start, the 2015 harvest is now in full gear at Jordan. We picked our first Russian River Valley Chardonnay grapes on August 24--symbolic due to it also being the day we celebrated Rob Davis's 40th harvest as Jordan winemaker. Twenty-four hours later, he was calling off scheduled "picks" due to a cool front that moved in, leaving thick fog lingering into the late mornings and stalling grapes' sugar levels. There were simply not enough sunshine hours for the grapevines to continue their photosynthesis, increase sugars and fully ripen. Luckily, very warm weather returned by the weekend, and our winemaking team and the picking crews shifted quickly into overdrive on Monday.
As discussed in previous blog posts, Jordan handpicks our Chardonnay grapes during the coldest hours--after midnight and before sunrise--to preserve the purity of aromas, flavors and bright acidity. This is the first year that Ranch Manager Brent Young has managed the vineyard work and harvest for our long-term lease of two vineyards east of the Russian River, which Rob has been sourcing grapes from for decades. Just before midnight on August 31, Brent embarked on his first Chardonnay night harvest for Rob. Scenes from that harvest are our Photo Gallery of the Month.
We expect to be finished picking Chardonnay before Labor Day. So far, the quality of the fruit is very good. The size of the vintage, however, is down compared to the last few bountiful harvests. The grape clusters have less berries than in 2012, 2013 and 2014 due to the cool weather during flowering in May, so the sheer weight of the clusters has resulted in the smaller yields. But so far, the juice is tasting really nice.