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Frey Vineyards

Eliza Frey
September 28, 2023 | Frey Winery Blog | Eliza Frey

In The Vineyard

In the vineyard, Harvest 2023 has come! Here's our vineyard/harvest report from the vineyards. September 12th was our first day crushing grapes and we celebrated with a brief blessing and sips of sweet Sauvignon Blanc juice from our Road I Vineyard. We like to take a moment to appreciate the bounty of nature which is the backbone of all we humans create, ferment, and enjoy. Harvest represents the culmination of a year’s work, from pruning through bud break and frost season, flowering and fruit set, veraison, and ripening. 

You can read more about "veraison" in this recent post from Molly Frey. 

We are excited to bring fruit into the cellar and transform it into wine, a process that is straightforward scientifically but evokes alchemy and magic when the finished product is released. The winter months brought dozens of inches of desperately needed rainfall to inland Mendocino County, totaling 70+ for the season. Dormant grapevines love lots of water and cold temperatures. Early 2023 also brought much more snow than average. The cold temperatures delayed bud break and we sailed through frost season (when tender buds and shoots are susceptible to frost damage) with mild temperatures. Our overhead sprinkler frost protection systems didn’t get used much. Wet soils also delayed tractor work such as mowing, under-vine tillage, and cultivation, making early spring a slower season than normal for vineyard crew members.

Summer has been clear and warm, with relatively mild temperatures except for a few heat waves in the triple digits. Growers were expecting harvest to be greatly delayed due to the cold spring, but the grapes caught up. Usually, grape ripening in California progresses from southern AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) and moves slowly and steadily north. This year Mendocino is ripening before or alongside southern AVAs like Sonoma, Napa, and even Lodi.

Grapes aren’t the only fruit crop that loved all the winter water. We are jamming, basking, and baking in the glory of peaches, plums, pears, and apples. The olive crop is looking robust as well. This last month has been spent catching up on the maintenance of machinery to be used for harvest, irrigating vines as needed, and having a little downtime before the hustle and bustle of harvest. We thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about what we are up to and wish you all a healthy and prosperous Autumn. Cheers from the vineyard!


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