Harvest Reflections – a Story of Season and Place

We finished harvest this year on October 2, beating by a week last year’s record-early harvest. We were blessed with an awesome crop, slightly lighter in weight than last year. With that, we put Six Sigma’s 11th harvest on the books, starting with 2004 and now including 2014. (The 2004 vintage was a mere 37 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, but let’s count it anyway!)
Wrapping up harvest always reminds me of why I love growing wine grapes. As a farmer-at-heart, I enjoy anything that grows, from hot peppers to bitter hops, but there’s something special about wine.

Grapes at Six Sigma RanchConsider for example the 2005 Tempranillo, the first one we ever made. The vines captured every detail of the growing season in the vineyard. As the United States swore in the second George Bush for his second term on January 20th, the vines responded to freezing temperatures by forming tiny clusters inside closed buds. During the growing season, they recorded humidity, breezes, and aromas in the air from the nearby Pines and California Bay Laurel. On July 24, as Lance Armstrong crossed the finish line for his 7th Tour de France victory, the grapes were entering their final stretch of ripening, building sugars before their harvest on September 28.

When you open that wine, it tells a story of a season and a place, like a time capsule summarizing that year’s growing season. That’s one of the many things I love about wine!

Christian Ahlmann

2 thoughts on “Harvest Reflections – a Story of Season and Place

Linda A Johnson January 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Ah, your magic words were music to my ears. I liked the interesting time events with your grape growing, and the grapes taking on a hint of the nearby Pines and Californiia Bay Lauel. Nice comparisons. You write as well as your mother. Tasting your Tempranillo is like tasting delicious silk. Hmmm.


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