11 FUN FACTS ABOUT HARVEST
- Most grapes are harvested at night! Harvesting at night is easier on the workers and ensures a stable sugar level in the grapes, something that fluctuates when the temperature rises.
- The flavors of wine are affected by how long the grapes are on the vine. Grapes harvested earlier (typically whites) have lower sugar levels and higher acidity and make a crisp, tart wine. Red grapes hang longer for the complexity that comes from a more balanced sugar and acidity. Grapes for dessert wines are left on the vines the longest.
- It’s not the grapes that determine the color, it’s the skin. Skin contact when making wine is called “maceration” and the process extracts color and fruit flavor from the skins without any bitter tannins. Think of it like making a cup of tea and how leaving a tea bag in your cup affects the color and flavor.
- Rosé isn’t a grape variety like zinfandel or sauvignon blanc, but a style of winemaking using red wine grapes. To achieve the pink shades found in rosé, a wine is kept in contact with the grape skins for just hours. You can learn more about the different styles of rosé here.
- Sauvignon blanc was first planted in Dry Creek Valley by Dry Creek Vineyard founder, David Stare. This grape grows best in DCV due to the mineral rich, well-draining soils and notable temperature change from day to night. known as the diurnal shift. Read more about Dry Creek Valley’s signature white wine.
- Today, nearly 2,200 acres of zinfandel are farmed in Dry Creek Valley, making it the top planted grape in the region. In the 1870s, Frenchman Georges Bloch planted the first zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley. By the 1880s, zin was the dominant grape planted across 900 acres of the region and continues to be to this day.
- After about age 50, a zinfandel vine is considered “old,” but at 50, zin may not yet be half-way through its life. In Dry Creek Valley, you will find vineyards with vines that are more than 120-years-old! Old vines contribute an intensity and complexity of flavor to the wine. Want to study up on Old Vine Zin? We got you covered.
- The top three components of a winemaker’s decision to harvest grapes are sugar, acid and tannin. Sugar and acid are measured with a refractometer while tannins are sampled by taste.
- Cheers! Grapes for sparkling wines are harvested notably earlier than other grapes because winemakers are looking for a higher acidity. They are harvested with extra care as to not to disturb the flavors and minimize any harsh compounds that may be imparted from the skin of the grape.
- Did you know that it takes a newly planted vineyard at least three years to produce fruit of a high enough quality to make wine? Add on a year or more after wine is made until that bottle is ready to drink! Good thing we’re patient – mostly because we know it’s worth the wait.
- Time for some harvest math:! Every vineyard acre produces roughly 1.5-7 tons of grapes. Every ton of grapes makes roughly 150 gallons of wine. One barrel of wine contains 60 gallons, which is about 295 bottles of wine (24 cases). There are ~30lbs of grapes per case of wine and ~2.4lbs of grapes in one bottle of wine. Phew – time for a glass!
Harvest is one of the best times to visit us in Dry Creek Valley.