Beginning in early September, we start to sample the sugar content (Brix), acidity, and pH of the grapes. While we regularly check these numbers, our key indicator of ripeness is the physiological ripeness of the grapes, particularly skins, seeds, and stems.
Depending on autumn warmth, harvest occurs at the estate vineyard any time between early and late October. Our vineyards in Chalone and Santa Lucia Highlands are always the first to ripen, and the earlier ripening sections of our Corralitos vineyard soon follow. Typically, the chardonnay grapes ripen in the middle of our pinot ripening, and they are picked and processed in one day. Our estate syrah grapes always ripen last, and we typically harvest them in mid-November. We harvest each section of the vineyards separately and keep them separate in bins and barrels. We typically get the last wine in a barrel around mid-December