Read this season's previous harvest updates: Seeing More Good Fruit, Two Pinots, Slow Start, Christian's Report, Vintage is Nearly Here!.
We're teetering on the brink of true harvest here at Niven Family Wine Estates. We saw a fair amount of tonnage coming through this past week and our first six-day week. It started out much like last week with several blocks of Pinot Noir arriving; by the end of the week, we received over twenty tons of Zinfandel, a little more Pinot Gris, some Chardonnay, and 43 tons of Gruner Veltliner.
Gruner Veltliner is an interesting varietal that is slowly beginning to earn recognition in California. There was no Gruner Veltliner produced in California in 2008, but nearly 200 tons were produced in 2009 (this was the first year Zocker was produced by our winery; Zocker is a beautiful wine that has earned a lot of acclaim during its short history). Gruner Veltliner is a descendant of the Traminer family, crossed with an unknown varietal believed to originate from Austria. Today, it is Austria's most-planted white varietal and represents over one-third of the country's total wine production; Gruner Veltliner is also grown in the neighboring countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, along with the United States, Australia, and New Zealand (my former boss and mentor Steve Voysey pioneered Gruner Veltliner in New Zealand under his Spade Oak label).
Today was my only day off work, and luckily it coincided with some swell. Small-scale south and northwest swells combined with nice sunny weather to provide a great day of surfing and beach-going for Kristin and me. Thanks to our friend Mara, we both had new wetsuits to keep us warm; in fact, this was Kristin's first session in a full wetsuit that she happily survived! After a morning surf, we had a delicious brunch at our friend Tony's house before a serious afternoon of smash ball. A day like today defines one of the most important lessons I've learned over the years: take advantage of your days off during vintage.
This next week may be the beginning of serious harvesting. We have nearly forty tons of Sauvignon Blanc and a couple dozen tons of reds set to arrive tomorrow. A few more blocks of Pinot Noir should arrive this week, and potentially our early ripening blocks of Chardonnay, which are inching towards maturity.