Can you believe it?  Columbus Day and pumpkins galore are right around the corner.  This year, we will be completed with harvest before the holiday that bids summer farewell.  It’s true that we started the 2015 growing season early and therefore expected to probably end early too, but this is very early.  With the exception of a minute vineyard of Cabernet franc still out on the vine, we had everything in by the last day of September!  (This is only the second year that the Clone 6 has been picked in September; in 2006 we picked on Nov. 1st.)  Amazingly early – in the 36 years that Anthony has been making wine in Napa, he’s never been finished harvesting before the month was over.

The best part about an early harvest is that the crucial primary fermentation can complete while late summer still delivers very warm days, before chill of autumn slows everything down.  The picture shows Anthony stirring in yeast food, to help keep that fermentation going, but some tanks have finished already.  We’re happy to have several new wines already out of the fermenting tanks and into barrels, where they’ll undergo their second fermentation, transforming the sharp edged malic acid of young wine to smoother, rounder lactic acid.

Overall fruit quality was very good, nice deep color (just look at the purple in Anthony’s bucket) and lovely fruit aromas.  Apparently the recent heat spells have not affected the fruit either, as juice analysis looks very good.  It’s still early to come to conclusions about the entire vintage, but a couple sips of the Clone 6 juice were delicious, sweet and luscious.  A very promising place to begin the winemaking process – we’ll keep you posted.

Best wishes from Anthony, Sandra and all of us at BELL