Coming to grips with Harvest 2011

…more to the point; coming to grips with the fact that I will not be a full-time participant in the 2011 harvest.

I won’t be working 12-16 hour shifts. No pump-overs or punch-downs. I won’t be pulling samples or digging out tanks. No daily sanitation of hoses, clamps, pumps and whatnot. I won’t get to drive the forklift to load the press (or get to jump in and clean the press at the end of the night).  No crusher-destemmer action or working a sorting table. I won’t get to do any of those things that build bonds between interns; I won’t have a 2011 bottling that I can hold up one day and say: “I helped make this wine.”

What’s got me all worked up about this? Why am I being so melancholy?  Well, I have worked the past two harvests. Ramey Cellars in 2009. Cakebread Cellars in 2010 (click those years to re-live the glory)!  But recently, I accepted a job in Napa Valley back in the hospitality business.

But, the other thing that has me feeling this way is that over the past 8 months I have been randomly taking photos on winery visits, tastings, vineyard tours. One of my favorite things to do is drive the highways and byways of Northern Sonoma – winding up and down Westside Road or sailing through Dry Creek Valley with the windows down; making frequent photo stops as I travel through Alexander and Knights Valley into Calistoga. The past couple of weeks have really got me psyched for the 2011 harvest!

In reviewing my most recent photos, I came up with this idea to share the chronology of the vineyards maturing from Winter until Harvest.  The shots are of random sites. I don’t even know the names of all of them. Some I just thought looked cool. Others are on famous properties. Although I do have a fairly extensive wine background, I’m not sure about several of the varietals that I have photographed. Oh, and speaking of photography – I used only my new HTC EVO 4G and a 3-year old Kodak digital camera. None of this was planned. I’m no professional when it comes to photography.

This blog, or micro-blog, will be short. This will probably be my longest entry. This mini-series is meant to be educational in an observational way. Definitely not for everyone and you should know that I am not a viticulturist.

Have fun with it and post some comments if you recognize a vineyard or know a varietal.

(by the way; the Sonoma County 2011 harvest started today – August 22, 2011)

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