Greetings, fellow wine lovers.
As the desert foreshadows autumn's arrival with increasingly crisp mornings, our excitement grows for harvest-time—when the year's hard work bears gorgeous, delectable fruit!
We love to post these mouth-watering photos of our Sonoran grapes, but there is so much more to this business. Let us take you behind the scenes….
Making wine requires a lot of patience. It also involves letting the vines tell you what to do; we let our grapes dictate which varieties to pick first and when they're ready. If you pick clusters too early, the wine may not develop the rich flavor profiles we seek, and if you wait too long late rains can dilute fertile flavors.
Any delay in harvest season comes with risk. This year, for example, we had to compete with hungry birds who share our standards for sweetness. Our tractor tire blew out in the middle of the Grenache pick, leaving us with limited time to hoist 2.5 tons of grapes onto a flatbed to save them from ravenous birds and imminent spoilage!
Thank goodness for the generosity of our wine-making community—our neighbor Rod Keeling from Keeling Schaefer Vineyards sent over his tractor, and our beautiful Grenache grapes were saved from the scorching Arizona sun.
After tracking down a tire in Phoenix and calling in favors from friends to get the tire back on the tractor, we were back in business to finish the Grenache pick, and we can't wait to share the results of this harvest bonanza.
At Sonoran Wines, we pick our grapes by hand—every single sumptuous one—and usually harvest in this order:
- Grenache: Two separate harvests, early for Rosé when the brix are between 22-24, and later for our red (24–26 brix)
- Petite Sirah: This is the first year since we have been working with the vines that the Petite was ready before the red Grenache
- Mourvèdre: The procrastinator—still sitting on the vines waiting for the optimal brix, and ready for harvest this week
Now that we've got most of the harvesting done, the real patience begins… waiting for the wine to ferment, age, and develop into the rich, evocative, award-winning flavors you love.
If you see anyone from Sonoran Wines this week, you'll understand the deep purple stains on our hands and shoes and clothing.
Please join us as we raise a toast to fall and the promise of great wines to come!