By Robert Farmer
I love harvest for so many reasons. Most have to do with the
time of year–I’m a big fan of fall; the crisp air, the changing
colors, the shortening days, the whole thing. But with particular regard to
wine itself, harvest is an obviously interesting time of year. It’s the
time of year at which everything that happened in the preceding months comes to
bear in the vineyards. From weather to soil quality, to farming techniques,
this is more like “crunch” time than it is “crush”
Everything a winemaker knows is called upon during
harvest–from fertilizers to fermentation and there is no margin for
error. The process moves from out of nature’s hands and into human hands.
It’s the once-a-year-only opportunity to create something that will
reflect the winemaker’s skill and knowledge for a lifetime.
So it is not
surprising that during crush time, vineyards and wineries are exciting places to
be. I’ve long advocated for visiting wine country–whether California’s,
Oregon’s, Washington’s or any place else–during harvest time
to have the quintessential wine country experience.
Though it can be difficult
to find places to stay without booking well in advance, it’s worth
the effort to make the trip and to get an idea of what winemaking is like that
you simply cannot get from one side of a tasting counter.