Our friend Tom over at Fermentation has a post today about harvest 2008 already being underway in the Sonoma Valley (in fact, they picked on August 1st! Quite early for sure).
As is always the case, the first grapes off the vine are those that will be used to make the sparkling wines–this is due to a desire to pick when the sugar levels are low, which in turn keeps the alcohol levels low prior to the two cycles of fermentation.
In a typical year one of the first wineries in the Napa Valley to begin the harvest is Mumm Napa, located in Rutherford along the Silverado Trail. It just so happens we were at Mumm Napa (which primarily produces a variety of sparkling wines) this weekend for a private tour and tasting, so we asked about the status of the grapes on the vines. We were told Mumm was estimating an initial pick date of August 12th–apparently most of the grapes were still about 3-4 degrees Brix below where they’d like them to be. Obviously, given weather patterns, etc. that date is a fluid one.
As part of our tour we of course visited the crushpad, where sometime in the next couple of weeks some 30 or so employees will be hard at work preparing this year’s harvest for the next stage of the journey to the bottle.
We’ve posted a few Mumm Napa photos from our visit and will be adding more in the coming days.