Harvest 2019 is finally over for us. It’s ran about a month later than we have picked in the six previous harvests. This year we harvested just about 25 tons of grapes. That’s a record for us but still a very low yield in terms of tons per acre, which comes out to just a bit more than one ton per acre. Low yields are certainly one of the big prices to pay for farming the way we do. A typical number for a high-quality irrigated vineyard is more like three to four tons per acre. Still, our vineyard is young and should be able to do a bit more as it matures. I would be ecstatic if we could ever reach the two ton per acre level and maintain the present quality of the fruit and health of the vineyard. Yield aside, the quality of the fruit this year has been great. The rains last winter and the relatively mild summer have allowed the fruit to hang about two to three weeks longer than in the past. This has allowed the sugar and the physiological ripening of the fruit to stay in good balance. The sugar has not accumulated faster than the phenolic compounds which are so important to color, taste, and mouthfeel of the wine. And the color in the grapes is across the board, intense. Even the Garnacha, which can have its color bleached by sun exposure, this year was very dark.
While we continued to sell the bulk of the grapes to several premium small wineries, this year we took a giant leap in a new direction and kept about six tons of grapes ourselves and made wine at a winery by the name of ONX in the Tin City portion of Paso Robles. This is under what is called an AP or Alternating Proprietorship arrangement. This allows us to process the grapes at ONX, yet sell the wine under our own Loma Seca label. We kept and made wine from four varieties, Primitivo, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Once the wine settles and goes through its malolactic fermentation, we will sit down and taste through the barrels with the idea that we will blend some of these to make a final wine to be bottled. Of course, that wine won’t be ready to bottle for at least another 12-14 months. That said we are super excited to finally be in the wine business and not simply farming for others. Please stay tuned for availability of our new wines.
It takes a bunch of stuff to make wine these days. Production of Loma Seca wine at ONX Winery in Tin City, Paso Robles
Lauren pumps juice from fermented bin in preparation for pressing
Here Lauren empties the fermentation bin into the basket for pressing