Harvest Progress at Iron Hub Winery
August is an exciting time for the winemaking crew at Iron Hub Winery!
The grapes have completed veraison, meaning the green grape clusters have turned red or white. Veraison begins the official count down for harvest, and right now we are on track to start harvest in early September. In the cellar, Tom, Spencer, and Elise are beginning to prepare the cellar for the ‘22 vintage. Typically, harvest begins with our Sauvignon Blanc at the end of August, so we are right on track! The growing conditions for the next month will determine when the grapes are fully mature. If temperatures rise above 950 F or strong winds blow through the vineyard, the stomata on the leaves’ surface close, inhibiting photosynthesis. This causes the grape berry’s metabolism to shut down and pause sugar accumulation. Though the vines primary shoots experienced a hard frost in early April, the vines have recovered by growing secondary shoots. These secondary shoots do have fruit; however, the clusters are smaller in size compared to the primary shoots. Spencer states, “the frost damage in April affected each grape variety differently. Overall, I would estimate we are going to harvest ¼ to ½ amount of fruit compared to a normal year.” The ‘22 vintage will be the first harvest for our estate Petite Sirah, which Spencer and Elise planted back in 2019! For the next 6 weeks, we will keep our fingers crossed for favorable growing conditions and no smoke! The clusters are most susceptible to smoke taint during veraison, so we made it through the most vulnerable period without any damage. Though California is experiencing drought conditions, our dry-farmed blocks that are nearly 50 years old are still able to absorb water in our deep granitic soils and retain the water needed to ripen the grapes. Spencer is beginning to irrigate our young vine blocks to ensure a healthy canopy is present to ripen the fruit. Though our yields are significantly lower than normal, the fruit quality should be exceptional with bright vibrant flavors! There is nothing more exciting than harvest!