Preparing for harvest and crush is a huge job. Add to that changing wineries and hiring our hands-on winemaker Matt Taylor in the few weeks before harvest… I finally slept well last night with the first lot in the tank. But first, my 3:30am Friday morning trip to Carneros to ride with the picking crew at Hyde Vineyards.
I’m no photographer or perhaps I’d have captured the vines under the stars. It was a gorgeous clear night, even with my headlights running while I trimmed raisins before the crew arrived (finding me full of enthusiasm, and my Subaru with a dead battery in their vineyard!).
I am grateful to all of the Hyde family – Peter, Chris, Larry, Beta, and Ryan Bailey – they’ll never know how each of their kind words and support helped me through a stressful time, and for letting me slow down the crew, riding on the bins during the pick of our merlot block that I worked on all week.
These guys work so hard – starting in the dark with headlamps to guide their way. Cheerful as can be, and laughing at me as I chant, “No seco! no negro!”
No dry clusters, no blackened (from sunburn).
Suddenly, you pull your head out of the vines (frantically snipping off the last of the raisined berries with FOUR workers on your tail!) and the morning sun is flooding the scene. Ryan points out the cluster of hot-air balloons just rising up over Yountville, visible through a gap in the Carneros hills. He sees them every morning this time of year. What a great life. After saying goodbye to the crew, I caught one up close on the way to the winery.
Feels like this business is really lifting off…