It’s time to crush in Wine Country.
The First Day of Crush 2011 has arrived to the Kendall-Jackson Vinwood Cellars here in Sonoma County. Until now we have been preparing, planning and training for Harvest. It came a little later than we normally expect, but hey, this winemaker can’t complain being able to take the first two weekends in September off!
From now on things will really start to ramp up around the winery. We’re receiving two truckloads of Sauvignon Blanc today, and several more throughout the week; but this week we’ll also start to receive Chardonnay.
The white grapes will start us off, because they are the earliest to ripen. Red grapes are now fully colored in most places on the North coast, but it will be a couple weeks more before we confirm that the flavors in the berries and skins are what we want.
The first day of crush is filled with anticipation and its celebration is a true ritual at the winery. Winemakers are definitely two things: festive and superstitious. We will greet the first load of grapes for the new vintage into the winery with a blend of these two things.
First, we’ll gather all of the winery employees around to celebrate the start of harvest. We’ll raise a glass to toast a safe and successful new vintage. And, we’ll also “baptize” the grape receiving hopper with a sparkling wine toast, akin to christening a new yacht. After all, it would be bad luck for sure to receive new grapes without this customary blessing.
Here’s to a great harvest. Cheers.