In the spirit of the season, we asked Kenwood Vineyards to share some of their winemaking knowledge and observations they’ve made leading up to this year’s harvest in Sonoma, California.
"Looking back on the year, early winter was a little dry and warm. This got the vines off to an eager start, but cool and rainy weather in March got them back on to a normal schedule. The weather this summer has blessed us with mild temperatures and a lot of cool, foggy evenings. Which is just what our budding plants needed to fully develop their flavor. We’re expecting a long harvest in thanks to ideal crop levels.
The excitement in Sonoma was bubbling around the 8th of August when the first grapes for sparkling wine were ready for picking. Typically, the grapes for sparkling are the first to be harvested during the season because we pick them at a lower sugar level. Once the sparkling grapes are picked, we move onto picking the first fruits for still wine, our Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly, we pick Sauvignon Blanc with a little less ripeness than the other varieties because it gets ready a bit before the rest. Usually the first regions to get picked are the Sonoma Valley and the Sonoma Coast. At the moment it’s too early to say for sure when we will finish with harvest, but in years past we’ve found ourselves out in the fields until mid-October. Once we’re through with harvesting we’ll finish pressing the skins off the reds.
For now we are all enjoying the time before harvest is in full swing and the long hours begin. Although the work is hard, we’re overflowing with excitement to see the first fruits come in. No matter how many years we spend making wine, we still look forward to that first crush. Every year mother nature deals winemakers a new hand of cards and it is our job to play them in such a way we make the best wine that we can. There is so much satisfaction in tasting through the young wines post-harvest and seeing how things turn out. It’s both a cycle and a journey that we’re certain we’ll never tire of."
-The Kenwood Vineyards Winemaking Team