Last night might have been the biggest night of the year for us. Our Muscat grapes ripened early and we picked in the middle of the night (to keep the fruit cool and the workers comfortable). That means that last night officially marked the first night of the 10th harvest for Ponte Winery!
Today we have a few glassy-eyed interns and Wine Makers about, and for good reason! Harvest is an incredibly exciting, somewhat stressful and very important time of year for anyone in the wine business. In my house, our year revolves around harvest. My husband is a Viticulturist and Assistant Winemaker in San Diego County so harvest means dirty boots, wine-soaked clothing, alot of dinners with my girlfriends and a missing husband. In large wine countries there are a lot of wives like me. They call us “Harvest Widows” because the guys who work in the vineyards are either there or in the winery consistently from the time the fruit ripens, until the last bunch is picked.
My dear husband and I. After last year’s harvest
Here at Ponte we also have a hard-working vineyard team who show up late, after all the winery guests have gone to start picking and processing our 300+ acres of grapes. When we arrive in the morning, we can smell the grapes being processed at the winery. Our tank yard is bustling with forklifts, our crush pad is running and one of our interns can almost always be found raking grapes into the destemmer, or using a large metal tool to perform “punch downs” which keeps the fermentation process moving right along so those delicious sugars can turn into alcohol, making this grape juice into the wine you will soon enjoy.
Harvest workers using the tractor to pick white grapes at dusk
In my opinion, this is the absolute best time to visit Temecula Wine Country. Not only are there ample opportunities to learn more about the wine-making process and get involved, but there grapes on the vines, Winemaker dinners and numerous wine country events. My personal favorites are our Grape Stomp Festival (I know, I’m biased) and Temecula Valley’s Crush event at Callaway Winery on September 16th.
If you are planning to visit soon or are in desperate need of a staycation to follow the kids’ summer vacation, please take my advice and stay with us during harvest. There’s just something about sipping a glass of your favorite wine beside a courtyard fire pit while you watch the tractor lights move through the vineyards, it’s a great feeling to relax and sip a glass of wine while next year’s vintage is being made. It’s also a great time of year to take a tour of the winery or the vineyards in our new electric vineyard bus.
For packages and deals that will help you experience all the winery has to offer, click here, or give us a call. We are proud of the hard work we do here at the winery and hotel and would love to share it with you this harvest season!
Amy Landolt, Marketing Manager