August 7th kicked off our 2018 harvest in Los Angeles County with 1000 lbs of Tempranillo from the Swayze Vineyard in Neenach destined for rosé wine. This marks the earliest date that we've begun harvest, but only about a week or two.
Tempranillo is an early-ripening variety, this is a warm, high desert location, and grapes for rosé are harvested at lower sugar levels and higher acidity. The fruit looked gorgeous this year and although the ripeness caught us by surprise last week, we were able to time the pick to bring in the fruit at what we believe is optimal maturity for rosé.
Our harvest readings were 22 Brix and 3.58 pH . Tempranillo is a softer acid grape and we were pleased with the 3.58 pH and lively tang in the fruit. We chose to bypass de-stemming and whole-cluster pressed the fruit. The resulting juice was pumped into stainless steel, moved to cold storage, and racked off the gross sediment at 24 hours. We chose to make a minor acid adjustment and then inoculated with yeast. You can see the whole process in pictures below.