Laurel Glen Vineyard ǂ Cabernet Sauvignon ǂ Glen Ellen
October 25, 2019
Dear Friends -
I wanted to bring you up to date on the doings of October, our most eventful month of the year. Why is October so eventful? For the entire history of Laurel Glen Vineyard, October has been synonymous with Harvest. And, sadly, since 2017, October has also semaphored Wildfires. This year brings the same highs and lows.
I will start by reassuring you that the current wildfire raging in Sonoma County is very far removed from Laurel Glen Vineyard and me and my colleagues. The Kinkaid fire is taking place at the northern end of Sonoma County. We are in the southern end of Sonoma County and Sonoma is a very large county.
The fire has spread quickly due to strong winds. Right now, we are in a break from the winds, expected to last until tomorrow night. Cal Fire is determined to contain the fire before the winds return. If they are successful, the Kinkaid fire will end up being far less devastating than the wildfires of 2017. Please join me in praying Cal Fire is successful!
It seems disrespectful to turn to lighter topics, but October has meant Harvest longer than it has meant wildfires, and so I'd like to share some harvest highlights.
We started picking grapes on September 20th . . . for Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. The 1st grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon were picked on September 30th and the last were picked on October 10th.
The picture above is grapes for 2019 Rosella Rosé, picked on September 24th and pressed from the skins an hour after arriving at the winery. All the fruit looked excellent this year: healthy and perfectly ripe.
Below is a picture of the 1st grapes being picked for Cabernet Sauvignon, from Block 8, one of our smallest blocks, on September 30th.
After a relatively leisurely start, the pace definitely picked up the week of October 7th. We picked on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday of that week. The final Cabernet grapes from Laurel Glen Vineyard came into the winery on Wednesday October 9th. We picked Merlot from the Pickberry Vineyard for Counterpoint on the 10th.
How does this year compare to others? Very well, in fact! In terms of quantity, 2019 was a larger than average harvest. Our 14 acre vineyard yielded 30.8 tons of grapes, less than in 2018 and in 2014, but (much) more than in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In terms of timing, we started picking Cabernet Sauvignon about the same time as in 2018, but harvest progressed more quickly. Last year it took us over three weeks to pick our small vineyard. This year we were done in fourteen days. In terms of quality, overall everything looks excellent.
It will take months in the cellar however before any of us are willing to predict how this vintage stacks up to others.