#Harvest2012: The Rhones Are Coming!

If you were visiting the Monte Bello Tasting Room on Sunday, and you happened to be up on our knoll at about 2pm in the afternoon, you would have gotten quite the visual treat. Looking down on the road below, you would have seen a grape truck making its way to the Monte Bello Winery carrying a delivery of Grenache and Petite Sirah from Sonoma; quite a journey, to say the least!

As to myself, I headed up to the winery just behind the grape truck, and was able to catch the fruit as it was being delivered from gondola to conveyor; first up was the Grenache …

The fruit came down from a section of the Lytton Springs Estate known as Lytton West, seen here via our Aerial Vineyard Tour

Nestled in between the East Bench Vineyards and Lytton East (where the Lytton Springs winery is located), Lytton West is a singularly weathered and uniquely diverse planting that features a fantastic mix of varietals; two acres of which are devoted to Grenache …

Here are winemakers Eric Baugher and Shun Ishikubo, patiently pitchforkin’ the fruit onto the belt …

The day’s other delivery was Petite Sirah from Geyserville …

Even from my distant vantage point high atop the gondola-laden truck bed, overlooking  David Gates (VP of Vineyard Operations), Shun Ishikubo (Assistant Winemaker), and Joshua Smith (Harvest Intern) at the belt, I could clearly see the knockout intensity of the grape color; no mistaking this fruit for anything BUT Petite Sirah!

There are over 8 acres of Petite Sirah planted at Geyserville, as can be seen here in a still image for our Aerial Vineyard Tour

Last week’s heat continues to impact the vineyards, as #Harvest2012 pushes ever-onwards, ever-faster. It’s been a decade at least since we’ve seen a year like this, an the excitement borders on overwhelming as everyone races to bring the fruit in on time.

I was in a meeting with Paul Draper this morning, and in discussing the quality of this year’s fruit, he repeatedly used the word “exceptional.” Be excited. Be very, very excited.


Feel it.

Categories: Events, Geyserville, Grenache, History, Lytton, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Petite Sirah, Rhone varietals, RIDGE Staff, Varietals & Blends, Vineyards, Winemaking

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2 replies

  1. Hi Christopher –

    Why truck the Rhones down to Monte Bello, as opposed to making the wine at Lytton Springs?


    • Greetings Deb!

      It’s a combination of capacity logisitics and tradition; in the end, syrah and grenache are just always made at Monte Bello, and always have been …

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