Read on as Dolce Winemaker Greg Allen fills us in on this year’s harvest season:
Dolce’s growing season was similar to other experiences in the Napa Valley: fruit ripened and had fantastic flavors by early September. Luckily for our grapes, the rains of early October ushered in the first major Botrytis bloom of the 2013 harvest season, blessing about one-third of Dolce’s Semillon crop with the friendly fungus. With the infection in full effect, we began our harvest. Each day yielded a tank of incredibly honeyed and fruitful juice, ranging from 33ºBrix on the first day to 38º Brix on the fourth. Portions of these tanks were blended together to create two unique batches of juice around 35º Brix, inoculated with my favorite strains of yeast, and are presently on their way to becoming the 2013 Dolce!
I’m very excited about the quality of the fruit flavors in the juice batches. We have much to look forward to, however, because about 50% of the year’s crop is still hanging on the vine. A quick accounting of the time required for mold germination, berry shriveling, and harvesting 20 tons of Botrytis-ridden fruit leads me to believe that we could be very busy over Thanksgiving weekend! Well, it is a harvest celebration, isn’t it? We shall see.