Why We Harvest Fruit at Night

DHP-LVW-9-8-08--122If you drive by the winery after hours during this time of year you may notice the vineyard rows illuminated with flood lights as workers carefully harvest the years bounty throughout the night hours. There are many advantages to harvesting at night, for the wines and crews alike. VP of Vineyard Operations, Lino Bozzano notes, “The area’s cool nights create better working conditions – not only is the temperature more tolerable, but bees and rattlesnakes stay away at night; we have repeatedly found processes are completed more efficiently when we avoid the heat of the day.”

But the benefits don’t end there, “We also prefer grapes that have been picked at night once they arrive in the winery,” says President andDHP-LVW-9-8-08--90 Head Winemaker Eric Hickey. “When picked during the 50 degree temperatures, grapes are firmer, making them easier to work with, particularly facilitating de-stemming. Additionally, lower temperatures allow Pinot Noir grapes to arrive near the same temperature necessary to begin cold soaking, the first step in the production of these wines” adds Hickey. If we were to bring in grapes harvested during the heat of the day, much more energy would need to be expended to get them to the optimal temperature to be cold soaked. As a certified sustainable vineyard in practice, we are always striving to save energy and ensure that all of our vineyard and winery practices are with the environment and employees in mind.

Harvest is well underway at this point and everything is moving along quite well. We have now completed harvesting fruit for our sparkling wine program and are in the thick of bringing in fruit FrontCoverfrom both the Laetitia and Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyards. We are really happy with the fruit quality and are excited to release the first wines in the spring of next year. The fruit has been about 2 weeks early coming in and we are seeing great concentration and flavor development along with slightly lower acids due to our warm summer. Next time you are in the area after dusk, take a peek at the vineyard and see if you can’t catch a glimpse of the lighted rows of vines, it’s quite a beautiful sight!


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