Every year in California at the end of summer and into the early fall, wineries have all hands on deck in order to prepare for the juicing process of winemaking. The California wine experts call this time of year the wine vintage or the harvest because it’s the time the grapes are gathered for winemaking. During this time the winegrowers make sure the grapes are picked because the weather can affect the flavor and quality of the grape.
During the harvest, workers are in the vineyards around the clock clipping grapes off their vines. It is not unlikely that during the time of the harvest the tasting rooms are short-staffed due to the amount of help that is needed to remove the grapes from the vine and quickly move them to the juicing tanks where they will be crushed. It is important to get the grapes off the vine in the fall because the cold weather will slow the grapes from ripening, and the rain will cause the grapes to swell, lose concentration, and rot.
Depending on the winery, it is common to have a private ceremony to celebrate the harvest and pay tribute to all the hard work the staff did while tending to the grapes. These gatherings are called pre- or post-crush parties, depending on when they take place. The parties usually include wine tastings, live music, and food.
The Wine Folly broke down the harvest schedule month by month and what wines are to be harvested. The harvest begins in late August and ends in November for the Northern Hemisphere. The first to be picked are the grapes that are used to make sparkling wines and white wine. These grapes are harvested from August through the end of September. They include Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The grapes for Pinot Noir are also harvested at this time. Then from September to October Chenin Blanc and Viognier are picked. Merlot and Syrah/Shiraz are from mid-September to mid-October. Lastly, Cabernet Sauvignon is harvested from October-November.
Source: Wine Folly
Come Join Us!
Now that you learned about the California wine harvest, come join us for our Fall Wine School Series: Harvest Moon. Enjoy our wide variety of wines and unique menu with a group of friends, or that special someone. Reservations are required for this event, so make sure you secure your table today. We hope to see you there!