Greg Schultz
October 16, 2016 | Greg Schultz

First Harvest


Vines loaded with ripe Tempranillo clusters

During the past 2 weeks the weather has been perfect for grapes. The cool fall days allowed us to let our fruit hang on the vine until the flavors caught up with the sugars and acids--balance!


Fruit bins out in the vineyard ready for harvest

On October 6th, I took a 75-berry random sample into Pallet Wine Company for analysis and for our winemaker Linda Donovan to taste. The berries were big and dark, the sugar was 24%, the pH 3.5, and the taste just about ideal. Just a little more time needed on the vine. With the Pacific Northwest's first big storm of the season predicted the following week, I knew that I wanted to harvest before the rains came. So did everyone else. Finding pickers might be an issue. Greg Paneitz, winemaker and co-owner of Wooldridge Creek Winery and Vineyard across the street from us, lined us up with a picking crew for Monday, October 10th. Perfect! I put 5 of our 6 bins out in the vineyard Sunday afternoon. With 3rd leaf vines and our first harvest, I didn't think we needed all of our bins, but we had one extra just in case.


Ashley Myers from the Vine Restaurant in Grants Pass was a big help!

The first pickers arrived at 7 a.m. and all was going great. The foreman moved a few bins around and the picking began. Soon I was asked if I had any more bins. "Sure, there's one more in the barn"--I beamed. "You're going to need more than that!"--I frowned. What? I thought I had more than enough. Whoops! I got on the phone and called vineyards up and down our street looking for more. "Sorry, we're picking today too". Greg Paneitz at Wooldridge came to the rescue. We filled 15 bins--nearly 6 tons, 6 pounds of fruit per vine!

Hauling one of many bucket loads of grapes to an awaiting bin

Six tons of fruit will ultimately yield 400 cases of wine. That's more than we need right now, so what to do? Wooldridge Creek Winery has a substantial position in the bulk wine business selling Oregon wines throughout the country. We left 1/3 of our harvest with them to be blended with other varietals into a high quality red blend. The remaining 4+ tons of our harvest we brought to Pallet Wine Company to make into our own wines. We had already decided that we would make some of our Tempranillo into a Rosé wine if we harvested enough--boy did we! So, using the saignee process 3 barrels were filled for Rosé, with the remaining being fermented for a bold red 2016 Tempranillo. After getting over the initial shock, we are as excited as we can be! We are looking forward to 75 cases of 2016 Rose´ and 200 cases of 2016 red.

And we are one day closer to our first estate wine...


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