Grape Harvest at Cloudrest Vineyards,Oregon
The 2010 HARVEST was very poor for us, as well as very late....taking place into the first week of November! Oak Knoll crushed the grapes but later sold the juice to a larger winery, since our sugars were a bit low. 2011 was, unfortunately, worse! For the first time since our initial planting we didn't harvest! With an unusually cool Spring and Summer, our grapes never ripened in time. As November approached our sugars were still too low for good wine making! It was very sad to see all those grape clusters sitting on the vines as Thanksgiving approached! On Black Friday we watched as thousands of Starlings swooped in and feasted on over 12 ton's of juicy grapes! Since we are at a higher elevation than many vineyards we are more prone to problems when the weather stays cool. That year in Oregon most vineyards above 600-700 ft. weren't able to bring their fruit in. We hope that 2012 brings back our normal warm and dry Summers!
The 2009 HARVEST will go down in the record books, giving us a yield of 17.7 tons at 23.5 Brix sugar, and one of the earliest....on October 12th! The grapes were in terrific shape and the cool, dry weather on the day of harvest kept them that way right up until they got to the crusher at the winery! We brought them in just before the rainy weather hit.....and even better, without having to put up the usual bird netting! The very next day hordes of birds descended on the vineyard blocks, only to find a few leftover clusters!( the large numbers of migratory birds who do the most damage come in around mid October, so we usually have to net for them when we harvest late in the month) The deer also moved in after discovering that our temporary deer fencing had been taken down for the season.
Heavy clusters.....full totes....and great helpers made for a perfect harvest day. Our son, Brent and grandson, Brayden, help load the flatbed truck for the trip to the winery.
The 2008 HARVEST, at 8 tons, took place on OCT. 27th during another miraculous Indian Summer with temperatures up to 70 degrees! Harvest was later than usual for most of the vineyards ( normal for us!) and yields were down for most everyone this year, but grapes were in beautiful shape so we are predicting a great vintage. After the harvest our family of deer quickly moved in , the golden leaves fell.....and we had our first blanket of snow on December 14th, the day after we celebrated the wine year at Oak Knoll....Cheers!
LATE SPRING 2008: New growth is late this year due to colder than normal temperatures in May and early June(see the baby grape cluster surrounded by emerging grape leaves!)
The 2007 HARVEST, at 12 1/4 tons, took place on the warmest day of the month- OCT.23rd, after nearly a month of rain, during a late three day Indian Summer with temps reaching 70 degrees! Sugars were lower than usual (20 Brix) due to the wet October. The entire vineyard also had to be netted in late September for the migrating birds ( who came over by the thousands just a few days before we harvested!) Mt. Hood glows on the horizon on the day before harvest while the right hand picture, taken late in the day after harvest, shows the afterglow of the barren vines.
In Spring 2007 the vines broke bud in late April- we reinforced the deer fencing in preparation for the new growth that will emerge. English daisies dot the hillside along with blooms from native cherry and dogwood at the vineyard edge.
The 2006 Harvest was the earliest we've seen in over 15 years...on Oct. 11th, with temperatures reaching 81 degrees!At 23 1/3 Brix (degrees of sugar) the conditions of the grapes were superior.The birds never showed up....so netting wasn't required, and the deer fencing also kept the deer away, resulting in a yield of over 10 tons. It was truly a perfect harvest!
Fall rains and wind will soon erase the golden glow reflected on the orchard and vineyard slopes.....
Our grandson, now almost five years old, loves to help at harvest time!
Harvest was late in 2005- on October 30th, with the smallest yield in over 15 years...only 4 ton! This was due to three factors which all came together: extensive Spring deer damage (requiring us to finally invest in deer fencing), a deluge of early Summer rains arriving right at bloom time, and an early migration of birds coming down from the North who feasted on the grapes before we were able to get our bird-netting up! So goes the life of a farmer. Hopefully next year will be better. We are also sadly watching as the forested slope and ridge to the South of us is being logged / clearcut, a change that we are hoping will not alter the vineyard climate!
Harvest was early in Fall 2004 after a warm, dry summer, with a light yield of around 10 ton. The deer continue to be a problem.
We harvested just under 13 ton on OCTOBER 21st 2003.....on a beautiful sunny day that, at 82 degrees, seemed more like Summer than Fall! Percent sugar, measured in degrees Brix, was 22, TA was .72, and PH was 3.30. The grapes were in great shape, with some tasting hard to resist. Who says it always rains in Oregon?
In a quote from Oak Knoll Winery, the final destination for our grapes: "we’ve recently bottled the 2001 Pinot Gris, and it may just be our best yet! In our tasting conferences before blending, we discovered that the high elevation, late-picked grapes from Cloudrest vineyard had developed an unusually intense and attractive fresh meadow-grassy character that contributes complexity to the rich fruit elements from our other vineyards. Your taste buds are in for a real treat with this one!"
We picked 18.2 ton on October 26th, 2002- a record yield for us. Leaves, as is often the case, were already turning golden yellow , the grapes clusters in perfect shape, with sugars at 22.5 brix. Since the vineyard is located at 800- 1000 feet elevation, we are often the last to pick, and are right on the heels of Winter rains or snow!
Helpers are always welcome ....especially neighbor, Roger,( left) who loves to drive tractors.....and my husband, Fred, ( right) who is a workaholic!
At the winery the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed before going into the tanks.
In 1999, we also squeeked the Harvest in before November, picking 18 ton of grapes on Halloween Day!
Each tote holds about 500 lbs. of Pinot Gris grapes, which gets loaded onto a truck, is delivered, and crushed.........all in one day!
After the harvest....the vineyard leaves turn golden yellow, while the Cherry tree glows nearby
The same vineyard block in January after a snowstorm
In 1998....we harvested a bit earlier, but had much lower yields
Here I am taking the bird netting down so we can access those gorgeous grapes! The leaves are turning a golden yellow, indicating that the plants have shut down for the winter season.
The vineyard in Winter before the dormant pruning: 'Kitty' looking for a post to scratch?
Pinot Gris makes a dry, white wine that goes especially well with seafood and poultry. Oregon wines, especially Pinot Gris, have developed a nice niche in the world market! You can buy our wine at Oak Knoll Winery, located in Hillsboro, Oregon, or at select stores throughout the country.