As of this writing, we are reaching the tail end of the harvest at Margarita Vineyard, which has been one of the latest harvest seasons in memory.
The stage was set for Vintage 2023 last winter, when Paso Robles doubled its historic annual rainfall average. Mild weather prevailed through spring and summer, and the grapes matured accordingly: slowly, steadily and methodically. It was reminiscent of the cooler pre-drought 2010 and 2011 seasons.
The first grapes picked at Margarita Vineyard this year were Chardonnay (September 7) and Pinot Noir (September 14) for sparkling wine production. Our first pick for regular still wine was Sauvignon Blanc on October 3. By mid October, the majority of the fruit at Margarita Vineyard remained on the vine.
But Mother Nature ran out of patience before we did, blessing us with warm temperatures over the last three weeks of October. This is exactly what the grapes needed to kick into a higher ripening gear. Nevertheless, we will still be picking some our later-ripening varieties into the second week of November. As of today, about 80 percent of our fruit has been picked.
“We are full steam ahead with picking everything, hopefully we’ll be done in next 10 days or so,” says Winemaker Stewart Cameron
According to Stewart, the fruit this year is displaying excellent “physiological ripeness,” which is when the flavors, acids and tannins all mature in harmony—a function of the long hang time. In short, we are expecting richly flavored wines that exhibit excellent balance.
We salute our vineyard and winemaking teams who are patiently working hard to bring this epic harvest into the barn.