Crush 2012 Begins – Harvesting Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc with morning light


Sugars on our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc came in at 22.6 brix as of yesterday morning and the declaration of harvest’s opening swiftly followed from Kevin and Lucas.  We began picking fruit from the northeast corner of Block 26 Sauvignon Blanc at 6 this morning.  A crew of 15 people and 2 tractors holding 3 half-ton bins apiece worked their way between the rows, gently harvesting ripened clusters of fruit to open harvest 2012 at Halter Ranch.



1/2 Ton bins are filled from smaller trays. Each cluster is picked carefully by hand.



Sauvignon Blanc tends to be the first block to ripen, most of the other varieties are a few weeks out still.  Next on the list is likely Viognier, followed by Picpoul Blanc we intend to harvest at 18-18.5 brix for a special experiment.  Harvest won’t kick into full gear, with multiple harvest crews working various blocks at the peak of ripeness, for approximately another 2 – 3 weeks (barring a weather event that speeds things up…).


The first batch arrives!


Once the bins are full we tractor them around the backside of the new winery onto the upper pad where they will be weighed before sorting and destemming (for the reds) or being dumped into the bladder press and crushed (for the whites).


Moving a full bin onto the scale


Sauvignon Blanc is particularly exciting this year given that we escaped through Spring without being hit by a frost.  As a result, the vines were allowed to keep their buds and ripen fruit within a less stressful window of time.  Additionally we will be able to produce a more reasonable amount of Sauv Blanc this year in contrast to last years very limited 125 cases.  If you have not yet tried Halter Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, the ’11 is still available in the tasting room (though we are down to the final 20 cases!).  You may expect more harvest updates as we embark on September, check out our various social media this Thursday (August 30) for Cabernet Day (#CabernetDay) festivities, shenanigans, and fun!


That long cylinder has a big, thick-skinned balloon inside.


The winery crew has spent the past few weeks preparing sorting table, bladder press (pictured with Oscar above), basket presses, pumps, and other apparatus in preparation for the arrival of fruit.  The cylindrical ‘bladder’ press is what we use predominantly for our white wines.  Grapes are dumped through a hopper above the aperture in the photo, once full the press begins to spin while the thick balloon (or bladder) inside is inflated, gently squeezing out the juice while separating skins, pulp, and seeds.


Looking up toward the new plantings from within Block 26 Sauvignon Blanc


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