A Look Into Quady Winery’s 2019 Harvest Season
It’s not often that you get a glimpse into the work that goes into producing our wine. While harvest season ended more than a few weeks ago, we wanted to take the opportunity to share what our 2019 crush looked like!
Ask any winery when their busiest time of the year is, and you’ll get the same response 9 times out of 10 – harvest! It’s no different for us at Quady. Winemaking is a labor of love, and it requires plenty of both, especially during the harvest season.
Our production level is inching towards 150,000 cases of wine annually. As you can imagine, that takes a lot of grapes, approximately 1,900 tons of grapes. That’s 342,000,000 berries! It takes about 2-3 months for us to get through harvesting and crushing all of those berries. While most wineries start their crush season in September, we’re usually already a few weeks into it. Muscat grapes tend to ripen earlier than most other varieties, especially when paired with the warm summers we experience in California’s Central Valley.
The bulk of our harvest season includes ‘round the clock grape deliveries, seven days a week, with the majority of them happening in the late hours of the night, between 11:00PM and 4:00AM. Our winemakers and grape growers have moved to these late night harvests and deliveries as they’re ideal for maintaining the integrity of the berries. Cooler temperatures ensure slower fermentation times as well, which is critical when making sweet wines as they’re prone to race through fermentation rapidly. There are naturally occurring wild yeasts that collect on the grapes as they sit on the vine, so as soon as the berry is crushed, the process wants to begin on its own.
We crushed our last delivery two weeks into October. Orange Muscat and Muscat Canelli grapes are almost always the first ones to come in, with Black Muscat following behind and then finally our Portuguese varieties which are used in our Starboards.
So what did the 2019 crush season have in store for us? Well, lots and lots of grapes… Our annual production grew 40%-50% from just a few years ago, which has been a significant jump for our winemaking team. Our winemakers are meticulous about our quality, and that only makes the growth even more challenging. But, with more hands, larger equipment and an ever increasing level of experience, it’s been possible.
Our Winemaker, Darin Peterson, noted another particular challenge they overcame this year, “This harvest was the most compact I’ve experienced in my time here. The white varieties ripened later than normal, then the reds were ready early. That really compressed everything into a shorter crushing time frame. We only had a few days between the end of the whites and the beginning of the reds. The local industry was done with crush as early as I’ve seen, most of them completely done by the first week of October.”
We also received the second real harvests from new vineyards of Black Muscat that were planted some years ago. These additional grapes helped make our new Electra Moscato Rosé possible, and are helping us to keep up with the demand for our leading seller, Red Electra Moscato.
Crush can be hard work, but when the season’s wine is finished, bottled and poured for others to enjoy… It’s all worth it.
Visit our Wines Page to take a look at the Quady wines these beautiful grapes go in to. Which is your favorite?