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  • Writer's pictureNeil & Sue Shay

2018 Harvest Update!

After months and months of waiting, the harvest exploded into action at Bluebird Hill on September 22 as a crew of eager pickers set out in the cool of the early morning and picked more than a ton of Pinot noir from the North Block for our 2018 BBHC Rosé. We picked some of each of our five different Pinot noir clones: Pommard, Wädenswil, 777, 667, and 115. (For those of you interested to learn more about clones, here is perhaps a good start from Dr. Rusty Gaffney, at his ‘PinotFile’ blog:

Fruit was crushed after lunch and we let the crushed fruit sit about 3 hours before setting forward to the press, to collect that pink-colored grape juice that would then be fermented into rosé.

Our new ‘toy’ in the winery is a new wine press, a made-in-Italy “Zambelli Hydro 450”. The new press just about triples what we can press at one time, allowing us for the first time to process an entire fermentation bin (~ 1 ton of fruit) in one press run. The ‘Hydro’ in the name refers to the fact that the press operates via a water-filled bladder that operates off regular house water pressure. The material inside the six-foot tall basket is gently squeezed from the inside-out, and the juice (or wine, depending what we press), pours down into a collecting pan that can then be pumped or drained into a tank or barrel. Our sense already is that the juice and wine we are collecting from this press is treated very gently. There is very little agitation or oxygenation, leading to a great quality product to move onto the next step in the winemaking process, be it fermentation, for the case of white and rosé winemaking, or for ‘barreling down’, when we press our fermented Pinot noir. This ten to fourteen day-old wine is kept overnight in a settling tank, to allow some of the fine solids to settle to the bottom, and then the somewhat clarified wine is then pumped into our French oak barrels for what will probably be two years of aging before bottling.