Feature Coverage

2016 harvest begins at Schramsberg Vineyards

“Schramsberg Vineyards began the 2016 harvest last Wednesday, Aug. 3, with a traditional ceremony at the winery on Schramsberg Road off Highway 29. Proprietor Hugh Davies, surrounded by his crew of winemakers, friends and family, talked about the timing of the 2016 harvest and its potential.

“’The 2015 harvest last year began very early and the amount of available fruit was small. But this year the timing is closer to normal – usually mid-August. And winemakers in the valley will be happier because the 2016 rains have meant there’s an abundance of fruit.’

“The grapes crushed last Wednesday came from the Tognetti-Bayview pinot vineyards from Bayview Avenue in Carneros, one of 90 ‘cool-climate’ sites where Schramsberg Vineyards sources its grapes.

“’The Bayview vineyards every year come in earliest of our sites,’ Davies said. The vineyard is located on the north side of Bayview Avenue, in the southern end of the Napa Carneros AVA. ‘The microclimate there is unique: dark loamy soils along the Carneros Creek, just north of the San Pablo Bay watershed. The exposure is planted north-to-south and it seems to provide the vines with optimal sun, and a surplus of nutrients and water,’ Davies said.

“After toasting the harvest over the two white bins filled with pinot noir grapes, the Schramsberg crew gathered around and pulled sabers that had been strategically placed in the grapes. Then, with bottles of chilled sparkling wine in hand, on the count of three, they performed the art of sabrage: breaking the necks of the bottles using sabers.

“The contents of each bottle were then poured over the load of pinot, and 7-year-old Hughie Davies – Hugh Davies’ son – jumped into the bin, crushing the grapes under his running shoes. His father was busy carefully picking up the pieces of the broken bottles from the crush pad.

“Finally cellar worker Conor Briggs brought a forklift to the bins and poured the grapes into the winery’s crusher/destemmer.”

Tom Stockwell , August 8, 2016
2016 harvest begins at Schramsberg Vineyards