Our 52nd Harvest officially began on Wednesday, September 6th with the arrival of local, Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc! Sauvignon Blanc always has a special meaning for us this time of year, since our founder, David S. Stare, was the first person to plant the varietal in the Dry Creek Valley in 1972.
Everyone from Winemaking and Production to our Marketing and Administrative departments gathered on the crush pad to raise a toast to this year’s harvest and watch the first grapes arrive at the winery. We look forward to this annual tradition every year — it never gets old!
Here’s what Winemaker Tim Bell had to say about our 52nd Harvest:
“A thankfully wet winter and cooler spring led to a later budbreak in 2023 relative to recent years, which in turn also brought about later ripening. Lucky for us, this means even Winemaking had a rare day off during the Labor Day holiday! Interestingly, our founder, Dave Stare, says this is actually a return to what used to be a ‘normal’ timing for harvest many years ago.
“As it looks right now, vineyards are scheduled to be picked anywhere from 14 to 22 days later than in 2022. Weather has been nicely warm without any extreme heat events (phew!). My hope is that we’ll have a harvest like 2019, when the grapes ripened at an even, steady pace, allowing us to pick off various blocks at peak ripeness. Those 2019 wines have showed well in the bottle with plenty of life ahead of them — I’ll take that kind of harvest anytime!”
Brian Pruett, our Associate Winemaker, adds:
“In these early picks, we’re seeing grapes that are fully developed and have bright acidity. Quality so far is great! If Mother Nature cooperates and any decent rainfall holds off until after the grapes are harvested, this could be an amazing vintage — I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds!”
Our family winery completed its 52nd Harvest on Thursday, November 2nd. Harvest lasted a whopping 71 days, two days longer than the previous record holder: our 2019 Harvest. This officially makes our 2023 Harvest the longest period in over ten years.
Winemaker Tim Bell noted how similar this harvest felt to 2019:
“The 2019 vintage in particular turned out to be a real ‘sleeper’ year for high-quality reds. The quality of 2019 whites was obvious right away, and though I wasn’t as certain of the reds, they developed into stars in the bottle, as you might have noticed from our spectacular scores from critics!”
We have the same high hopes for our 2023 vintage. This year, our winemaking team was able to cherry-pick blocks when they were in perfect condition, without heat spells forcing their hand. Everyone is tired but happy — it’s been a ten-week grind, and they’ve done such an amazing job!