Early in Spring, it's time to start visiting the vineyards, checking rainfall amounts and noting the time on when the vines "wake-up" from their winter sleep.
Rainfall and Drought
The 2015 season marked another year of drought in California. While Dry Creek Valley received over 20 inches of rain in the 2015 season, it wasn't enough for many of the vines continued shortage of water.
Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
Just beginning the growth cycle in Dry Creek Valley.
Clusters and Crop Load
There is no substitute for vineyard walks, you can't just "phone it in" with your vineyard manager. Walking the rows is healthy for you and the results in the bottle.
Sangiovese Grosso - Up Close
I successfully fermented the Sangiovese on 100% native yeast this year and I'd like to thank them for their cooperation.
My Ford and Dry Creek Soil
My Ford Focus not only sees about 40,000 miles per year on the highway, but a few miles of dirt roads in Alexander and Dry Creek Valley each season. My rig got pressure washed about an hour later.
Junk food, drinks and Thor
I'm usually given a travel companion by one of my younger family members; this time it was Thor. I'm the purchaser of various hydration and caffeinated products. The addition of potato chips is a rare site in my vehicle.
Sonic Screwdriver and Ziploc Bags
I walk all of my vineyards personally for field testing sugar. It is also a chance to taste throughout the vineyards, part science part art.
Cabernet Sauvignon dimples
Those tiny berries are showing me something, dimples. The the faintest dimple, giving me a visual clue in this water depleted vineyard, that the grapes are ready to pick.
Blueberries or Cabernet?
It's Cabernet Sauvignon days away from being picked. The tiny berries pack a lot of flavor.
The view from Dry Creek Valley
Dry Creek Valley is wine country! The views from the hillside vineyards I choose for my wines are the best in the region.
Seeds and Pulp
You've got to get out and taste the grapes, not just test the grapes. Seeds and the pulp around them are another indication of ripeness, so taste often.
For our white wine blend.
1-T-L securing the bin
For some vineyards, we pick and haul our own fruit. TL readies the truck for the harvest.
Here's looking at you
John positioning the truck for the harvest
Pickin' ain't easy
There is no substitute for labor.
TL picking Cabernet
Early in the morning is the best time to pick
Picker, Winemaker and Owner, David Scheidt
Yes, I pick, haul, sort, crush, and taste Cabernet Sauvignon.
Are we done yet?
David and John taking a look at the continuing task of picking grapes
A full bin of Cabernet Sauvignon
Roughly 1000lbs of grapes in that single bin
A moment of fun
The owner and winemaker, David Scheidt decided to pose for the camera, briefly, during our pick of Cabernet Sauvignon.
TL and John over Cabernet
The last few hauls of Cabernet going into the bins
TL and David sorting leaves
Trying to get whatever leaves we can out of the bins before the crushpad
David, John, TL and One Ton of Cabernet
The results of our pick in Dry Creek Valley
Dumping 1000 pounds of grapes
Each half-ton of grapes is dumped onto a belt and shaker table system to throw out everything from leaves to bad grapes.
Wine Code for Cabernet
This is the simple system for labeling the bins, grapes, vineyard, and winery for all the fruit that comes onto the crushpad.
Juice and skins
A few pictures of color from recently fermented Sangiovese
Skins up close and personal
Skins from Sangiovese just before they go into the press