2016 Harvest is Here
2016 was a great wine growing season in Northern California. It was especially ideal in the Sierra Foothills. A wet spring, a very long and dry growing season, great diurnal temperatures, low humidity and a lot of sunshine. The grapes were very happy! And so were we!
Our winemaker and vineyard managers agreed that 6 of our 7 varietals were ready to harvest on October 1st, 2016. And what a great job the vineyard team performed! The “pick” started at 6:30 AM and by 1:00 PM, more than 18 tons of carefully selected wine grapes were on their way to be pressed in the first stage of producing our 2016 vintage of Langman Estate Winery wines. These wines will be spending the next two years inside the winery. (I can’t wait either!) Our vines are now 6 years old and will all reach full, mature production in about 2019. We only harvest ideal grapes, from ideal vines. We made only 1 barrel of wine in our inaugural vintage of 2012 (Vincent Henry’s Vineyard, Barbera).
The Final Tonnage chart below shows that the Barbera, Zinfandel and Syrah vines are almost at full yield, with the Grenache not too far behind. The Malbec is progressing nicely. The Cabernet Franc and Petite Syrah vines are inherently persnickety and will be at full yield, whenever they are good and ready to be! The small quantities of these early vintages, of these last two varietals, are of exceptional quality that will produce wonderful wines. But they will be in very short supply.
Final Brix Count
Taken one week before harvest:
Barbera: PH 3.3 Brix 25.6
Grenache: PH 3.1 Brix 26.0
Cab Franc: PH 3.0 Brix 23.3
Petite Sirah: PH 3.0 Brix 20.6
What is a Brix?
A scale to measure the level of sugar in unfermented grapes. Multiplying the Brix by .55 will closely yield the wines future alcohol level. Sugar is what the wine making yeast turns into alcohol during the fermentation process. Alcohol content is one of the main components of wine that must be in balance with other factors like fruit, tannins and oak. Too little alcohol and the wine will be too soft. To much alcohol and the wine can be overpowering like a cocktail (or too “hot”).
The first six varietals have now been harvested. The Petite Sirah is still hanging on the vines. The brix reading as of 10/5 was 22.8. It could be two more weeks until we harvest these special grapes. We only harvest the ideal grapes from the ideal vines at the ideal time. This is the big first step in producing ideal wines!
110.5 of these bins were filled on harvest day and we are not done!
Barbera: 15,000 pounds = 7.5 tons
Zinfandel: 13,000 pounds = 6.5 tons
Syrah: 12,000 pounds = 6 tons
Granache: 10,000 Pounds = 5.0 tons
Mablec: 4,000 Pounds =2.0 tons
Cab Franc: 1.250 Pounds = .63 tons
Total: 55,250 pounds or 27.75 tons
How much wine is that?
The large, square white bins in the picture above hold 1,000 pounds of grapes in each. The white buckets hold about 19 pounds of grapes in each. 1 ton of grapes will yield about 700 bottles of wine. 1 standard wine barrel contains about 280 bottles of wine. 280 bottles of wine is a little less than 24 cases of wine.
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