Everything was sped up this year in the Okanagan Valley. A hot season has brought an early harvest across the board at Okanagan wineries this vintage. Yesterday, September 17, we caught up with harvest and crush activities at a couple of local Summerland wineries, namely Okanagan Crush Pad and TH Wines.
We share Part One of the story in pictures:
Okanagan Crush Pad - All in a day's work
First order of business on the farm... visit the vineyard workers. On this organic farm these fine feathered friends are the pest control and the fertilizers. They also supply food. How does that all work? They eat the bugs, poop in the vineyard and naturally (they are chickens and ducks after all), they lay eggs.
A visit to the Bug Hotel
If you know Okanagan Crush Pad's wine portfolio, you know their excellent production of The Bub, and various other sparkling wines that form a good part of their line up - here, Jordan and Tyler disgorge a small lot of limited run Ancient Method Sparkling and add the dosage
Winemaker Matt Dumayne is in the cellar tasting through the wines in tank, while we await the delivery of some Pinot Noir from the Secrest Vineyard in Oliver
While we await the pinot delivery not a moment is wasted and we take a stroll in the Organic Switchback Vineyard that surrounds the winery
The Pinot Noir arrives, the unloading and bin shuffle begins
Matt inspects the fruit, carefully considering all he observes for the critical decisions he will make for this fruit's wine destiny
Let the sorting begin
As the fruit is sorted on the line it then goes through the crusher and destemmer
It's great to see the ancient method Wild Ferment Orange Wine and Free Form Pinot Noir in bottle that we documented last year as it was crushed and put in to the Amphorae (see the story here)
As you can see, so many processes of the winemaking culture are in various stages of their cycle on this one unique day during harvest - with some things beginning, others ending. There is a never-ending flow in the life of wine, from vineyard to glass. On this organic farm all that touches the land, from sunshine to cellarhand to chicken poop, make Okanagan Crush Pad wines. We'll continue with the cycle next week in Part Two.
TH Wines - A Man's Work
At TH on this same day, I stopped in to see one man, yes ONE, receive and sort and crush and destem and tank Merlot delivered from Oliver, destined to be TH's well loved Rosé.
The one man is Tyler Harlton, TH. It's all by hand.
Nothing is wasted, including these old picking bins from '84 that TH has procured for continued use.
Tyler on today's one-man sorting/crushing/destemming line up
Merlot in to the crusher destemmer, by hand
We will follow up with Part 2 of Summerland Harvest, to see progress on the crush with Okanagan Crush Pad and TH Wines next week!
Tarynn Liv Parker