Written by guest blogger Jon Philips, Owner/Winemaker at Inspiration Vineyards & Winery
The 2014 harvest is over and much like a baby would be tucked into their crib, all of our new wines have been put to bed in their respective barrels. However in this analogy, for the next several months, our babies change and mature while they sleep and no diaper changes will be required.
I had originally started writing this newsletter in July because there were clear signs that our harvest was going to be an early one. Veraison (a French term meaning “change of color of the grape berries”) occurred about three to four weeks ahead of schedule. What we hadn’t expected is for harvest activities to be compressed from its normal 6 to 8 week period to just 5 weeks.
Typically, grape varieties ripen at different times, allowing us to harvest and make one type of wine at a time. This gives us little “rest” breaks allowing us to recover between wine types and balance the use of winery resources (equipment, space & labor) so that we are not over capacity at any one time. As a result of a mild and dry winter, warm spring and hot early summer, mother nature had different plans.
For the first time, we reached 100% capacity that stretched our limits to the point that we couldn’t receive anything else into the winery. Fortunately, the final lots came in on the heels of lots being pressed and removed from the production floor. This was a difficult (albeit short) harvest like no other, confirmed when talking to other winemakers with more experience than me, who said that they had also never seen a harvest like 2014.
As I routinely check on my sleeping babies, I’m still reminded about their tough delivery. Time will tell about the quality of the wines produced; however my early assessment is that this will be a very good vintage.
Jon & Barbara