Hey! 2022..... you are lookin good!
At the beginning of the year, as seems to be the case more often than not in recent years, the ongoing drought conditions are taking their toll. Spring was early, temperate and long with a couple of hot spells thrown in for good measure. The vines reacted accordingly in anticipation, and even early estimates were that overall crop levels would be down this year.
Our vines behaved very professionally, co-operating at every stage to give us a nice even crop, good set on the vines, and tapping the sparse resources gently as if understanding the best practices needed to get through the summer. Clear skies in the daytime, and a merciful Pacific marine layer in the evenings has so far kept the summer temperate and the morning air fresh and clean. The perfect conditions.
Now as we enter the home stretch, the worried looks that show up every year are back. Farmers are notorious pessimists, "what is going to go wrong now? this is all going too perfectly". Go back to those same farmers in two months time and you will see an enormous grin, and just a little drool on their chin as they tell you "this is going to be the vintage of the century!".... funny, the cycle seems to repeat year after year : )
The reality is, we will not truly know until the grapes are harvested and processed. Once you have the grapes out of the vineyard and in your control, then, and only then can we speak to the potential quality of the wine, and as every winemaker worthy of the title will tell you "once you have the best grapes in the world the only thing you need to do is not screw up". It is like a master sculptor with the perfect piece of stone, the masterpiece is already inside and his only task is to release it.
So, this is the time of year when all the winemakers are squeezing out the last few days of vacation because the next 100 days are the superbowl, the world series and the Ironman all rolled into one. Here at Ektimo, our estate vineyard is right around 13 brix and steadily rising so harvest is still a few weeks out, however regular checking will start next week and everything will be under a close watch for the perfect moment to bring our Pinot Noir across the finish line. Equipment has been cleaned and checked, the tanks where the grapes will be landing are sterile and ready to go. Our crew is primed and ready to go into action at a moments notice.
Things are a little different at Ektimo, as we do have a number of custom crush clients that share our space, equipment, and our winemaker's expert know how, so one of our clients will be bringing the first fruit to be processed next Monday. Sauvignon Blanc generally harvests earlier than most grape varieties, with various white grape varieties close behind. Pino Noir is usually first in line for the red grapes somewhere towards the end of August. Cooler temperatures stretch things out a little, extended heat spells push things forward quickly, so watching the variables and reacting to them becomes the plan. Being prepared to work 14-16 hour days, sometimes weeks without a day off. We salute the brave men & women that will be leaving it all on the field to bring us the best wines possible.
100 days...... and counting.