Sheldon Haynie
 
November 2, 2014 | Sheldon Haynie

Crush wrap up 2014

 

It was a long crush season, from the first pick of Merlot at Athena's Vineyard in early September to the last Petite Sirah from Chirala Estates was 8 weeks. The spread was caused by a combination of climate differences and irrigation issues, where the central location of Athena's and system problems gave us early harvesting, and the cooler location of Chirala's along with later watering due to a well issue gave us later. 

We brought in a bit less than 40 tons this year, with some lower yields due to the drought and aggressive pruning/shoot thinning to keep the canopy smaller. Overall fruit quality was good and the flavors will be concentrated in the smaller berries.  Our staff was able to complete crushing and pressing without supervision this year, which was a bonus as Jane's daughter Amy gave birth in the 2nd week of October, so we were short when Jane went to Virginia to help. 

As our home winemaker sized destemmer had been working overtime last year to process the fruit, we bought a used Jolly 50 which allowed us to feed it from a bin tipper on a forklift. Much less labor than the hand shoveling, and much better destemming, as this has counter rotating cage and paddles. Alex and Christian built a platform to stand on, so that the grapes could be raked into the destemmer and it gravity fed the must into our macro bin fermenters.

 

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