Greg Schultz
November 30, 2012 | News and Updates | Greg Schultz

2012 Harvest

The 2012 grape harvest just ended.  The fermenting wines are now occupying sixteen barrels in the dark and cool cellar of Pallet Wine Company in Medford.  This label is from one of three new Oak barrels we purchased for our red varietals. 

In total, we bought seven tons of five different grape varietals (Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot noir) this year.  Now that the de-stemming, punchdowns, and pressing are finished, the wines have been moved into a combination of new and neutral Oak barrels.  In the coming two years, primary and malolactic fermentations will complete and the wines will finish their aging process.  We anticipate 400 cases of premium wine from the 2012 harvest—our most ever!

2012 marked our third opportunity to experience this exciting part of winemaking.  In some ways this harvest was similar to those of previous years—monitoring sugar and acid levels to determine a harvest date, adjusting well-laid plans at the last minute, and helping out in the winery when we could.  In other ways, 2012 was quite a bit different. 

First of all, the weather was great.  Due to a warm, dry summer, the fruit was ready to harvest one month earlier than last year.  We were told that this is more normal.  We had come to believe that harvest time was supposed to be cold and rainy.  This year the weather was certainly more pleasant.  What about 2013?

Another difference is that we ventured out of southern Oregon for the first time for our grapes.  While still sourcing our warm climate varietals locally from Steelhead Run Vineyard, we made a trip up to the world famous Willamette Valley to purchase Pinot noir grapes from Fir Crest (aka Twelve) Vineyard of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.  The weekend adventure included a rented trailer, borrowed bins, game day traffic, ten hours round trip, and a ton of premium fruit de-stemmed to bins.  We are very excited to add this Pinot noir to our portfolio.

Greg at Fir Crest Vineyard

Lastly, we looked upon harvest from the eyes of a future vineyard owner.   Debbie and I are starting to plan our first vineyard.  We are consulting with Greg Jones of Cascade Environmental Geographics and Chris Huber of OVS on layout, rootstock, varietals, and soil preparation.  Ours will be a small vineyard (between 1 and 1 ½ acres) with rows oriented north-south on our gently sloping property.   We have a lot of decisions to make in order to prepare our medium heat site for planting.  We look forward to doing a lot of the work ourselves and will devote future blogs to describing our progress.


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