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Tempranillo – Vintage 2016

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It is not just a saying that “good wine is made in the vineyard” – even the best winemaker can’t make great wine out of mediocre grapes after they leave the vines. So how do you make sure that top-quality grapes end up in your tanks after harvest? You pamper your grapevines, and nurse the grapes all the way through the season as they grow to maturity.

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At Six Sigma Ranch we put a lot of effort into keeping the grapevines happy and healthy. Our team works hard to get just the right amount of water and organic fertilizer to the vines, protect the plants from bugs, and let those plants develop the right amount of leaves to shade the grapes from the scorching sun. The last, critical step is to keep the grapes cool during harvest. So what do you do when your grapes are perfectly ripe and ready for harvest early in the season when the summer days are still hot? You harvest at night!

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The typical harvest time for our Tempranillo is late September. This year, however, the abundant crop was ready just one week into September when the temperatures during the day still got up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). We were fortunate that our farming company was able to send experienced night-pickers to help us start harvest at 2 am on September 8. it was a joy to see our Six Sigma team work seamlessly together with the efficient crews, bringing the grapes to be processed while it was still cool.

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We have worked with our farming company for several years, but this year we needed help with more than just harvest. The crops are bigger than ever, so we asked a neighboring Lake County winery, Langtry Estate & Vineyard, to help us with crushing and pressing our grapes in their equipment that is much bigger than ours. Before the last load of Tempranillo grapes headed off to Langtry, we turned off the generator and the electric light and had a beautiful moment to enjoy sunrise.

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Else Ahlmann

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