Harvest 2011: Everybody Must Get …

One of the things that has always impressed me about Ridge Vineyards, and particularly about the good folks who work for Ridge Vineyards, is the extent to which not only does everyone wear a great array of hats around here, but that everyone wants to!

In no realm is this more evident than when it comes to the actual practice of producing wine, and at no time of the year is this more evident than Harvest. Everyone gets into the act, and for those not directly part of the production teams, it’s a tremendous learning opportunity for all concerned.

This year, even our Regional Sales Managers (the “RSMs,” colloquially) got the chance to get their hands dirty, logging some heavy miles in the vineyards and in the winery. And mind you, these are Planes, Trains, and Automobiles folks; these are the ones constantly on the move, city to city to city, wine dinner to wine dinner to wine dinner, wine shop to wine shop to wine shop. They are, by definition, urbanites. The cities are their bread and butter, the roads and the skies their realms. They accrue miles like kids collect Tetris points. They need new tires every four months. They do not have permanent addresses. Ok, that last part isn’t true, but what is true is that they are most decidedly not farmers.

And yet, just last week, there they were, heading out into the vineyards.

And in good company too; alongside RSMs Dan Buckler, Christina Donley, and Michael Torino, were David Gates (VP of Vineyard Operations), Kyle Theriot (Monte Bello Viticulturist) and Eric Baugher (VP of Winemaking, Monte Bello); a formidable cadre of viticultural knowledge, and a great team to work beside.

David Gates runs the show in our vineyards, and he led the RSM crew on a sampling expedition, a key endeavor as we near the official beginnings of Harvest 2011.

If you’re not familiar with sampling and why it’s done, you might want to check a previous post (found here) but it’s essentially the practice of collecting grape samples from multiple locations in the vineyards, to test them for progress. The grapes are sorted into small Ziploc bags …

crushed (being done below by Regional Sales Managers Michael Torino and Dan Buckler) …

…and once turned into juice …

… tested.

Here is Regional Sales Manager Christina Donley, assessing some juice with a refractometer, a field device used to determine sugar levels (Brix) in grapes …

These RSMs came to work, and work they did; not just at Monte Bello, but also up at our Lytton Springs Estate …

and even all the way down south to Paso Robles, where they were greeted, hosted, and put to work by legendary grower and long-time Ridge partner Benito Dusi …

Eric Baugher with Benito Dusi

So next time you see a Ridge Vineyards wine on a shelf, or on a wine list, remember that it wasn’t a salesperson who got it placed there, it was a grape sampler!
(Special thanks to Heidi Nigen, our Marketing Manager, for the great pics!)

Categories: Events, History, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Vineyards, Viticultural Salmagundi, Winemaking

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