Grape pickers met early Tuesday morning to harvest grapes in Oliver Winery’s Creekbend Vineyard. The workers are harvesting about ten days earlier than normal because the drought caused the fruit to ripen early.
The clusters of Valvin Muscat grapes are also smaller than normal, but they pack a flavorful punch.
“We’re probably going to see a lot more smaller berries compared to the average which generally means more concentrated flavors so that’s not a bad thing,” Assistant Vineyard Manager Ross Reinhardt says.
The grapes are used to create one of Oliver Winery’s signature dry white wines, and the stronger flavor will likely mean a better wine.
Creekbend Vineyard Manager Bernie Parker says the low moisture also helps decrease disease pressure preventing the grapes from splitting and causing the clusters to rot on the vine. But the drought has not left the crop unscathed.
“We have dropped fruit off some of the vines that are mores stressed,” Parker says. “We estimated we had 7 ½ tons, and we dropped it down to 3 ½ to 4 tons so we dropped close to half of it.”
Parker estimates the harvest will yield more than 170 cases of wine that should be ready in about a month.