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Thomas judith beckmen estate vineyard q3 2019

Video: 2019 Summer at our Vineyard & Winery

The most excit­ing time of year has arrived… har­vest! The 2019 har­vest began on Sep­tem­ber 13 with all our Viog­nier fruit and some of our Chardon­nay fruit; most of the grapes will be arriv­ing to the win­ery in Octo­ber and ear­ly Novem­ber. Watch the video below to dis­cov­er what we’re up to dur­ing the late sum­mer months, as we begin har­vest­ing grapes for the 2019 vintage. 

In the Vineyard

Quar­ter 3 is extreme­ly busy for us in both of our vine­yards — our cer­ti­fied bio­dy­nam­ic, 125 acre Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard in Bal­lard Canyon AVA, and our 25 acre Thomas and Judith Beck­men Estate Vine­yard in Los Olivos Dis­trict AVA. In prepa­ra­tion of har­vest, we’ve been focus­ing on canopy man­age­ment, trel­lis posi­tion­ing, hedg­ing the vines, and leaf pulling to help with dis­ease pres­sure and to expose the fruit to sun­light. The com­bi­na­tion of all these efforts will help improve the ripeness and over­all qual­i­ty of the grapes as we enter the final stage of the year, the ripen­ing phase. 

The grapes have near­ly all gone through verai­son as we write this let­ter. Verai­son is that beau­ti­ful tran­si­tion from hard green berries to soft, ripe green (for white wines) and red (for red wines) berries. Each of our 10 grape vari­eties mature at dif­fer­ent times and at dif­fer­ent speeds, but one thing is cer­tain for all of them: birds and ground squir­rels know when the grapes are get­ting ripe. So, in order to pro­tect the grapes we’ve so care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed, we put nets over every row of grapevines. We then take sam­ples from each block, test­ing the brix (sug­ar lev­els) of the matur­ing grapes in antic­i­pa­tion of har­vest. Once the grapes reach a cer­tain brix, it’s time to harvest!

Our vine­yard crew has now start­ed to work at night and will con­tin­ue to do so through Octo­ber. They hand pick the grapes at night for two rea­sons. First, it allows our crew to work in cool­er tem­per­a­tures, escap­ing the intense sun and the +90°F heat San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty receives this time of year. Sec­ond­ly, it pre­serves the qual­i­ty of the grapes as they arrive to our win­ery. Tem­per­a­ture has a strong effect on the fer­men­ta­tion process, so we want to start the wine­mak­ing process with cool, whole berries that haven’t split open. 

In the Winery

In the win­ery, we blend­ed and racked the major­i­ty of 2018 red wines that are aging in oak bar­rels, cre­at­ing our final red wine blends from all of the var­i­ous lots. Our main focus, how­ev­er, has been prep­ping the win­ery, crush­pad, and bar­rel rooms for the upcom­ing har­vest sea­son. We spent time work­ing through our emp­ty bar­rels, check­ing the press and oth­er equip­ment, and deep clean­ing the 88 one and one-and-a-half ton fer­men­tors the grapes will be put into. 

Dur­ing har­vest, the grapes get deliv­ered to our win­ery crush­pad direct­ly from the vine­yard, usu­al­ly between 8am — 10am. We will process any­where from one ton per day to 20 tons per day. You will learn more about our wine­mak­ing phi­los­o­phy and process­es with the Quar­ter 4 release!

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