The 2016 Harvest is Coming

I love watching movie trailers. A good friend was at ComicCon updating me on what's coming out this year and next; lots of DC, Marvel and Disney (you know, the company that owns Star Wars) stuff.

Not to be left out of the trailer game, The Scheidt Brothers, in association with One Take Productions (what we call ourselves when we produce a goofy video) put together a Harvest Trailer for this season. My brother and I have been doing these fun little skits since we were kids. And like many trailers, I wasn't afraid to embellish... a lot! Please be kind, it's my first video production. Remember, goofy video, serious wine. Enjoy!

Coffee and the Winemaker

Coffee is an important part of my daily regimen. Coffee and wine making are hand in glove.

There were some major issues on the crushpad this season with regards to the type and method of coffee served. One such matter, K-Cups vs. Drip. Stashes of emergency K-Cups of Starbucks were hidden in the lab, behind barrels, in the cave, even the glove compartment of a car, just in-case someone needed a late-afternoon fix. There's nothing worse than getting ready for a fresh cup of coffee and having to settle for a K-Cup of Lemon Zinger non-caffeinated nonsense. A second matter on the crushpad, Yuban vs. Starbucks vs. Peet's. I can assure you, I consumed Yuban coffee exactly one time this summer. Yuban is an abomination.

As I travel around California, I've been known to carry a backpackers stove and Moka pot or percolator with me, along with fresh beans, coffee grinder and car inverter just so I can have fresh ground coffee in the morning. Most mornings in Healdsburg, I'd brew up a fresh Moka pot to start my day.

Coffee, or more to the point, caffeine is serious business.

Number of Coffees or Espresso Consumed in 2015

Don't judge me for all the K-Cups and Pods. They're convenient, fast, and no one feels left out because you didn't make "a fresh pot" or get the "stink eye" (like I have an addiction) for brewing up a batch of drip at 3pm. Most of the K-Cups were consumed on the crushpad or in the office. Imagine the stink eye I'd get for grinding beans for my Moka Pot? Ohhh, the arrogance...he can't drink Yuban drip like the rest of us. Guilty as charged.

The pure math says I drink about 1.72 coffees per day, which seems about right, as I can easily have 3 espresso per day, which gets my numbers up. There are some days that I have no coffee, so I think my numbers are fairly accurate for the year.

Cold coffee (different than Cold Brew) has an additional benefit to the winemaker...acid. Nothing cleans the palate better than a cold coffee and a Pellegrino.

Varietals Harvested in 2015

I love charts and graphs. I also like statistics. As I comb through my reporting for the 2015 harvest, I wanted to share some information on the types (varietals) of grapes harvested this season from Sonoma County. We produce roughly 9 different bottled wines per season from all of the grapes we havest. The 2015 Proprietary White Wine will be released in February of 2016, while our Signature Dry Creek wine won't be released until mid-2017.

Varietal Harvest 2015 by Percentage

Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese dominated the harvest.

Varietals Harvested by Percentage within Sonoma County

Specifically, the hillsides of Dry Creek Valley. No valley floor fruit was harvested.

Cargo Shorts of the Winemaker

There has been some real outrage regarding the cargo short; referred to as "a deadly plague" by some in the fashion community. Others treat the cargo short more fairly

I come to the defense of the cargo short, specifically in the work environment. As a working winemaker, I've stuffed all manner of items in various pockets throughout the harvest. On the crush pad, we win wine awards for wine making, not fashion.

The picture and list below is by no means exclusive or exhaustive. It was a picture taken one day with the things I was using that day. Refractometer, lighters, and a fine mesh strainer have been in my pockets too. And yes, women and men both wear cargo shorts on the crush pad.


1. Surgical tubing - Helpful for siphoning wine from one barrel to another barrel or keg
2. Spray bottle - Filled with grain alcohol, it's good for cleaning things (not drinking, well maybe)
3. Whisk - Wanna mix some yeast?
4. Infrared thermometer - point and shoot in C or F
5. Tape measure - tanks needs a tape measure to figure out the volume of wine in them
6. Cork screw - Duh!
7. Box cutter - Breaking down cardboard, cutting plastic, shrink wrap, yeah, you need a box cutter
8. Sample containers - juice and wine are always being sampled and these are the smallest the lab will take
9. Mini-flashlight - wanna look inside the bung hole? Of course you do.
10. Bungs - when you're finished with your flashlight, use these. One is for fermentation.
11. Wine Thief - When you wanna do a barrel sample, this is the tool for the job.
12. Tri-clover and gasket - ubiquitous around the winery
13. Leaky Barrel Fix it Kit includes wooden skewers, diagonal cutting pliers and a ball peen hammer
14. Bin/Barrel/Tank Label and Marking Equipment. One can never have enough Sharpies
15. Box Tape Roller - useful for boxes (not pictured, Duct Tape, because we used it all)
16. Finished Barrel Tagging - index cards, staple gun and Sharpie. Some winemakers use envelope labels.
17. Hand Held Density Meter - for daily brix and temperature testing
18. Fuel - There is a lot of wine made on Energy Bars and Cheap Beer (sorry craft beer enthusiasts)

Mastro Scheidt Family Cellars Harvest 2015

"He who labors diligently need never despair;
for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor." Menander

First off, I’d like to thank each of my friends and relatives who came to Healdsburg to visit me during the harvest; to view what happens behind the scenes and participate in this unique moment, Harvest 2015. A special thanks to my brother John and father T.L. for their early morning efforts.

Harvesting wine grapes, in the moment, is romantic, primal, and laborious. Harvest is unique to the season and begins a series of actions and reactions until the wine is finally uncorked and consumed.

Beyond the romantic and primal urges of harvest, the job of wine making is having an adaptable understanding of process, labor, environment, science, and art; these are the components of wine making. Understanding how to make wine is not enough. Having the ability to be adaptable to the changing nature of each and every harvest combined with the constant evolution of the wine in barrel and bottle is the diligence and labor.

I only have one chance each harvest to get the whole process right.

In these pictures, I’ve captured some of the labor, diligence, process, art, science, character and a smile or two, during the most primal and romantic time of year, harvest.

David Scheidt
Picker, Sorter, Tester, Hauler, Long-Haul Driver, Crusher, Taster, Barrel Washer, Bin Cleaner
Owner and Winemaker

2014 Harvest Report

The 2014 Harvest has almost come to a close for Mastro Scheidt Cellars. A few loose ends to tie off and we'll have barreled down another season. A wide variety of grapes picked again this season, with Cabernet Sauvignon the leading varietal by tonnage picked.

Many people ask us, "Do you pick your own grapes?"

The answer is...ABSOLUTELY!

Our proprietor and winemaker, David Scheidt personally hauled and picked over 3 tons this year from 3 different vineyards sites, including our 7th Vine Cabernet Sauvignon. He was helped in the vineyard on numerous occasions by his father T.L. and his brother John. We even recruited one of our close friends, Jason, to assist in the vineyard this season. Thanks to everyone who helped with harvest this year.

A series of pictures detailing the process of the 2014 Harvest are included in the Gallery: 2014 Harvest

Barrel Down and Wait

The 2011 Harvest is in the barrel and it's time to wait. I'm happy with the results so far in what was a challenging harvest.  I've got more wine to work with in 2011 because of quality farming practices. 

Patience has its advantages in the wine business. We won't be bottling this 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Doug Rafanelli's Vineyard for a couple years. Continue to develop and age gracefully please.

Cousin Marco curing Olives

Fresno and Healdsburg have slightly different weather patterns. Fresno is a little ahead in terms of grape and olive harvesting. Cousin Marco was hard at work in Fresno curing olives; an annual tradition. Meanwhile, Cousin David was harvesting grapes in Healdsburg for the 2011 Cabernet Vintage. Lots of harvesting going on. 

I've posted Marco's pictures of his olive curing in the Gallery and Facebook.