Juliet Ponte
October 12, 2023 | Juliet Ponte

A Harvest Update from Don Crank III

We have picked now the top of block 7a, the bottom of block 5, and a sliver of block 11 for the Blanc de Noir sparkling wine and are pressing the last of it off now.  We have perfect numbers and flavor profile for this lean sparkling base wine. 

While crunching the numbers for the bucket weights discover that all the self-rooted Pommard and Wadenswil clones above the winery, the blocks 5, 7,8,9, and 10 are hanging at something like 200% of the six-year average.  It was the cluster weights that pushed the yield in these blocks over the top with 200 to 220 g average clusters of Pinot Noir!  The rest of the block yield estimations for the blocks above the winery, 19, 13, and 20 show a 110% to 125% average and we have already thinned these blocks back to around 100% of the 5 yr average maybe 110% and with plenty of warm, mild days, I am convinced will make great wine to the amounts we have planned because these clusters are a more normal 140 g in weight.  The best PN blocks below the winery are 16 and 17 have smaller clusters of 120 and 100 grams and will make intense wines but the yields here are very low below 2 tons per acre.

The quality in these large clustered, big blocks above the winery (7 and 8) are at 21 brix now and will be ample to make a good sparkling base and white Pinot in the next two weeks, but with the exception of 8D, I would rather not risk hanging it out to vinify as red wine.  

In the winery:

Syrah from Walla Walla (Milton Freewater & The Rocks District) and the Merlot are in and look fantastic soaking in the fermenter. We were able to sort all 8 tons from Walla Walla.

At the same as we destemmed fruit, we pressed the first two presses of Pinot for the Blanc de Noir yesterday, we continued with 3 Champagne presses until 6 pm today.  With the dry, mild weather forecasted for the next two weeks, we have the opportunity to harvest at an even pace.  We will pick about ten tons a day starting Wednesday with blocks 16 and 17 next week as well as 12 the 777 above the winery for white pinot, and then to more 5 and 7a for the pn spark estimating about 45 tons for the next week. As I expected, some of the red wine below the winery is ripening ahead of the white pinot because of dramatic crop load differences.


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