We are in the final phases of harvest for the 2015 vintage. As of last weekend, Jordan had crushed about 95% of our grapes.
The decision to harvest the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon from our growers is based in part to the vine’s response to the consecutive days of heat (over 100 degrees or near) prior to our surprise rain a week ago. More heat (temperatures in the upper '90s) arrived last weekend. Vines this time of year are going into a stress mode, which is partly desired, as the grower wants to have the vine focus on its delicious berries, not on growing more canopy. But when vines are stressed beyond their ability to maintain their hydration, they draw water from their bearing fruit. They can only sustain this so long before they abort the fruit in an effort to survive. Vines view their clusters as a means to procreate more vines, but not at the expense of their survival.
When I walk through our growers' vineyards, I look at the amount of growth in the canopy, as well as the condition of the clusters. If I see the clusters are weathering and dried out, I check the irrigation program. I asked some growers to adjust their irrigation in order to better facilitate the fruit. But if I see stress in the vineyards despite the proper husbandry applied by the grower, then I make the decision to bring the fruit in while it is in good condition. It is not to the benefit of our wine style--balanced and elegant, highlighting fruit and acidity, not alcohol and big tannin--to hang fruit when the vine has already begun to shut down. All the winemaker can gain by that is the clusters turning to raisins.
After a little much-needed rain and a cooling trend, the Indian summer returned this week--just in time for the first day of fall. Today, we harvested the last remaining block of hillside Cabernet Sauvignon from a local grower and two small parcels of Petit Verdot at Jordan Estate. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the 2015 berries are small, but delicious. The quality of the juice is amazing, but quantity is down. But we're all smiles because thanks to our growers, our staff and a little help from Mother Nature, we have concluded another amazing vintage under sunny skies.