Neil Bernardi
August 4, 2016 | Neil Bernardi

Harvest Begins!

Somehow, some way, it is harvest again. Winter and spring have come and gone, and the growing season is nearing its conclusion. The sun has risen and set nearly 165 times since the grape buds pushed and started the annual cycle again. Our incredible Estate Vineyard and Grower Relations teams have worked tirelessly to nurture and cultivate our vines and growers through dormancy, budbreak, bloom, set, and veraison. They have paid careful attention to pruning, vine pest and disease eradication, suckering, shoot thinning, petiole analysis, leaf thinning, cluster counting, mowing, inter-row and intra -vine cultivation, moving wires, hedging, leaf water potential, cluster weighing, and green thinning.

At the same time, our dauntless Operations and Facilities teams have worked unceasingly to fix, replace, and maintain key equipment at our wineries. Countless new projects, each intended to allow us to work safer, more efficiently, and above all make better wine, have been managed and put in place under their guidance. The facilities guys are often the unsung heroes of harvest, always there to get a press back on line, or make a critical adjustment to a destemmer to make it work that much better.

Our bottling team has worked hard to get the best packaging for our wonderful wines in the right quantities and delivered on time to the right places. They have checked QC on countless thousands of corks, and checked and re-checked thousands of bottles to ensure that each and every one that comes off our line is fit to bear the seal of Duckhorn Wine Company.

In the wineries, our devoted and incomparable winemaking teams have played their part in this annual cycle too, caring for the 2014 and 2015 wines as they age gracefully, and readying their cellars for the new harvest. Countless tastings, rackings, blending sessions, barrel maintenance, lab analysis, sulfur additions, spreadsheets, toppings, barrel orders, data entry, vineyard visits, educational tastings, meetings (sorry guys :)), tank cleanings, consumer events, and sales trips have filled the past year, culminating in readiness for today’s 13 bins of Tofanelli Semillon.

There are so many hands that take part in this ancient annual cycle of dormancy, growth, and harvest, and the excitement surrounding a good vintage is still felt in a deeply visceral way. At almost 40 years running, Duckhorn Wine Company has a team who is steeped in the traditions and legacy founded upon Dan and Margaret’s vision. This tradition is most wonderfully expressed by the blessing of the grapes, and Renee Ary, our eloquent Duckhorn Vineyards Winemaker, captured that spirit in her toast. Happy Harvest Everyone!


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