Our second crush is over! Finished! Complete! We survived and enough fruit survived. California wine country experienced some unusual weather this growing season; unusually cool temps through much of the summer mixed with a few grape scorching hot days late in the season. This combination left some fruit slow to ripen and other lots sunburned into raisins.
For this our follow up to harvest in New Zealand, we landed in the Russian River Valley working at the hugely popular La Crema winery. During our New Zealand vintage we mostly worked in the area that receives grapes. While it is very cool to watch the fruit roll in, working intake isolates you from the overall wine making process. This go around we spent most of our time in one of the three different cellars and gained experience with all sorts of wine making tasks.
With the start of harvest delayed by the cool temps, a couple weeks were spent cleaning an already clean winery. For me this was a test of survival. Everyday I had thoughts of escaping into the great outdoors of California. It was September with perfect fall weather, we were only a few hours from Yosemite and the Sierras. Torture. Day after day we moped around a big, empty cellar. Those grape-less days were the hardest of this crush. Much harder than the 12+ hour days to come of racking Chardonnay and punching down Pinot Noir.