For all those that think we can relax now that AVV's harvest is complete, think again. Kevin Hall writes:
" Currently at the winery we are just as busy as before. The first thing that I did after the last grapes arrived was to move the employees working the Night shift (midnight to 8:30 am) to the Day shift. Last Saturday was also the last Saturday that we will all have to work. We have plenty of work to do to keep the 2 remaining shifts busy. We finished the harvest with 18 fermentations going and those tanks will need to be drained and pressed. Currently, there are 6 that are ready to go.
Irma and a few other employees are working on a labeling project of Sin Zin magnums and everything else that gets pressed will need to be racked to barrel. "
Winemaker Kevin Hall writes:
"I think I see the light... the light at the end of the tunnel.
We are almost done. As of today we are at 94% completion and hopefully, hopefully we will finish tomorrow.
Mother Nature is definitely sending signals that harvest should be over. The Cabernet Sauvignon that we received today had a temperature in the low 30's."
Winemaker Kevin Hall writes:
"When we pump over the tanks I will either have them do it non-aerative or aerative.
Non-aerative is when the pump is hooked to the racking valve and the wine is pumped over the top of the cap and through a sprinkler.
Aerative is when the wine is drained into a sump first and then pumped over the top and through a sprinkler.
Here is an aerative pumpover in progress with Irma Silva, she's working with our Cabernet Sauvigon harvested from Turkey Hill.
So why do an aerative pumpover?At certain stages of the fermentation it is beneficial to add more oxygen to the fermentation and that is why we use the technique."
Assistant AVV Winemaker Harry Wetzel grew up on the property, so has seen his fair share of harvests over the years, as well as AVV's 24/7 activity that surrounds each crush. He now leads the second of our three shifts during harvest.
Harry writes: "Yields are down, particularly for Zin, which is not necessarily a bad thing...better quality. We managed to get all of our most vulnerable fruit in before the rains came today. Finished with Pinot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Chard and nearly done with Zin. Got some of the Gewurz in last week. Made for a very long night as the first load arrived around 1:30 am, and the second at 5:15 am.
With the current rain we have nothing scheduled to pick this week (so far). This allows us to play some catch-up and create more room so we can do a big push once things dry out. My shift is busy starting the fermentations and filling barrels (and emptying tanks), as well as inoculating wine lots with ML bacteria to get the malolactic fermentations going. Chard barrel ferments are moving along, and we are having to keep the cellar open 24 hours with fans running to push all of the CO2 out of the building.
If the cellar is closed, even for a few hours, the CO2 levels from the fermentations rise to dangerous levels. We run into this issue every year, but this year is seems especially bad...we just have a lot of stuff fermenting at the same time. The dangerous side of winemaking...."