Harvest came and went for Bird of Night in a flash! A mild summer turned to record heat that touched down in the North Bay over Labor Day weekend in September. It forced vineyard growers and wineries from the extreme Sonoma Coast all the way to the Sierras to act fast by scheduling picks or face the harsh consequences by bringing in over-ripe high sugared fruit. Luckily, we brought all our fruit in before the main heat took place.
Our Pinot Noir from English Hill Vineyard was harvested in the early morning on September 7th and brought back to the winery where it was hand-sorted, destemmed and 33% whole cluster was used for complexity. We punched down once or twice per day, and the Pinot Noir fermented naturally on its skins for 17 days before being pressed to tank. After a 24 hour settle in tank, the wine was barreled down in early October using 10% new French oak and is now aging gracefully for the next 7 months.
A new vineyard was selected for our Chardonnay program and the site is located east of the city of Sebastopol in the Laguna de Santa Rosa wetland complex. The fruit was hand-picked in the early morning of September 7th, brought back to the winery where it was slowly pressed using a ‘champagne cycle,’ all whole cluster. This method allows the juice to be released slowly and methodically to avoid seed extraction, which can introduce some bitterness to the juice and eventually the wine.
Once pressed, the juice settled in tank for 48 hours and racked fairly clean to neutral barrels. The barrels were placed in the warm room to allow native yeasts to start fermentation. Allowing native yeasts to complete primary fermentation as well as malolactic fermentation, this natural process can take up to 6 months to complete to dryness. As of today, the wine is still completing both primary and secondary fermentation. On completion, the Chardonnay will be moved to the cold room where it will sit for 7 months for aging.
Here's to another great season!