Friends and family will be arriving today for our community grape harvest.  They’ll come from various parts of California to join us in the ‘middle of nowhere’—in the Cuyama Valley in northern Santa Barbara County. Early Saturday morning we will head into the vineyard for our community grape harvest. We’ll be harvesting our zinfandel; the grapes that make our rosé blend; and our unique Pedro Ximenez white grape.

The grapes are ready; the plants are ready; and we’re ready. It’s been a challenging year for all of us. 4th year of drought means small grapes and a very light harvest in our dry-farmed system. The grapes will be concentrated, the wine complex, and the number of cases few. The plants are ready to shed their light load and concentrate on their own survival and possibly a last spurt of growth in the season. We cheer them on. Grape lovers, other than ourselves, have been visiting the vineyard regularly: birds, bees and even a fox. Unfortunately, for us, they have gotten more than their fair share.

Despite this challenging year, the harvest will be joyful. It is very special to join together in community and harvest the fruit of the vine—as has been done for thousands of years. We will have big smiles and hopefully full buckets. We’ll follow the harvest with our traditional wine tasting and barbecue. I’ll be sharing stories here over the next few days. Stay tuned. And maybe you’ll want to join us next year!

And by the way, this is the first year we are officially harvesting our grapes as ‘certified organic’! While we’ve been using organic practices since our start almost 20 years ago, we finally decided to go official—so that we can say we have wine made with organic grapes and organically certified olive oil! It makes our full bodied, dry-farmed wines all that more special.

Testing grapes for sugar

Watch video of Robbie testing the Pedro Ximénez white grape for its brix (sugar) level a week ago. A week of endless sunshine has brought the sugar levels right to where we want them: 22 brix.

Zinfandel grapes ready for harvest

Zinfandel grapes ready for harvest

Pedro Ximénez grapes

Pedro Ximénez grapes ready for harvest.