1850 Wine Cellars Harvest Blog 2021
Ever since the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century, and the arrival of thousands of thirsty European immigrants, there has been an explosion in the demand for wine, hampered only by Prohibition. By 1870, El Dorado and Amador Counties were the third-largest wine regions in California. Fast forward to today and they’re now considered world class wine destinations.
One thing we love about winemaking is that each year is different. Varying temperatures and fire evacuations made for an especially wild ride this year. But Winemakers Terry and Brian are resilient, and we are looking forward to world class wines from this vintage in the future! Harvest started for us on August 28th with Syrah grapes. Thankfully, we have had no smoke taint due to the Caldor Fire and were able to hold off picking the grapes until they were perfectly mature and truly expressed the vineyard characteristics, also known as terroir.
Once the fruit was in our winemaking facility, the winemaking team jumped into action, and loaded the grapes into the “hopper” or crusher/de-stemmer where the fruit is removed from the stems and the juice goes into stainless steel tanks or smaller bins. Then the young wine’s journey begins, maceration time! During maceration the temperature heats up and sugars naturally convert into alcohol during fermentation. To maintain juice health, nutrients are added and the juice is routinely mixed. In the case of the smaller bins, the cellar staff have to “mix” the fruit during what is called “punch downs”. Using a metal tool, they energetically punch through the thick top layer known as the “cap”, allowing for controlled oxygenation of the wine and consistent skin contact which will impart aroma, flavors and structure into the wine.
We are almost done with harvest, with about 80% of our grapes already in the winery. Winemaker Terry says “vineyard yields and overall health and quality are up this year.” Cheers to that, we can’t wait to share the fruits of our labor with you!
The 1850 Wine Cellars harvest crew
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