Harvest 2016 has officially begun at Le Vigne! Beginning at the crack of dawn on Wednesday morning, our grapes reached the desired sugar levels and winemaker and vineyard manager reached a consensus that it was finally time to begin harvesting our grapes, beginning with the Sauvignon Blanc from block 7 of our Domenico Vineyard. This year, this particular block produced TWICE as many grapes as it has in previous years. After several hours of picking, these grapes were carried to the winery by the truckload to be pressed, stored, and eventually made into wine!
Our first truckload of Sauvignon Blanc grapes arrived this morning from our Domenico Vineyard, freshly picked and ready to be pressed! A crane is used to lift the giant bins to dump the grapes out of the truck and into the auger.
Once the grapes are in the auger, they are slowly moved to the other end and dumped into a large tank to be pressed. The next truckload of grapes is then added to the mix.
Our winemaker, Michael Barreto, celebrates the first harvest of the year with the ceremonial Khaghogh Orhnek, or Blessing of the Grapes. This is an old Armenian custom, in which traditionally a priest would ask God to bless the vines on which the grapes ripen and to protect them from evil in the form of frost, hail, disease, harmful insects, and high winds. Barreto upholds this custom as he pours a bottle of 2015 Le Vigne Sauvignon Blanc onto the freshly picked grapes and bestows his blessing upon this year’s harvest!
Carlyn, our enologist, tests the freshly pressed grape juice for its sugar content. She has been testing these grapes weekly to ensure that the grapes were picked in a timely manner. With a reading of 24.8 Brix, it looks like this batch of grapes was harvested at the perfect time!
After the grapes are fully pressed, the resulting juice drips down below into a storage tank and moved to its next location to be made into future wines, including the Le Vigne Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc that we all know and love!