Our harvest started August 26 with Solomon Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir fruit for Goat Bubbles Rosé. The next day we brought in Chardonnay from Rio Vista Vineyard for Brut Cuvée. Sparkling wine fruit is picked at lower sugar levels (brix) so it's always a few weeks earlier than fruit for the still wine.
At the beginning of harvest, Norm commented that we are about 10 days -2 weeks behind from last year's harvest schedule. That trend continued throughout our harvest. We've had an unusually cool summer in Lompoc. The pace of the harvest was comfortable, without any excessive work days. The flavors of the juice are outstanding and promising some stellar sparkling and still wines.
We wrapped up harvest with two blocks of Rio Vista Vineyard Pinot Noir clones 777 and 115 for still wines on October 7. Norm remarked that he feels blessed to have had another outstanding harvest in Santa Barbara County. "It's exciting to taste wines at such a young stage that show outstanding concentration and flavors."
As of October 12, we're beginning the next stage of winemaking by pressing off fermenters and barreling down the new wines into new and old French oak barrels. This begins the aging process that will allow the wines to gracefully mature in a protected environment. During the barrel aging process, all of the red wines will undergo a malolactic fermentation, which converts malic acid into lactic acid.
Early in the harvest season, Cooper was hanging with Norm at Rio Vista Vineyard. He loves ripping around all the vineyards. This is the 22nd vintage for Flying Goat Pinots and the 17th vintage for Goat Bubbles. This is Norm's 42nd harvest because he worked one harvest in the northern hemisphere (U.S.) and one harvest in the southern hemisphere (Australia) in 1990, thus two harvests in one year.
Below is the crush crew for 2021: Norm Yost, Nick White & André Baltazar.
Ampelos Vineyard 2021