There are many players in the harvest game. They take the forms of the hardworking men and women who wake up at the freaking crack of dawn (in truth, it is often well before dawn, try 3 AM…woof!) to get busy hand picking grapes when the temperature is just right, the weather (days that have preceded it and the conditions on that particular morning), and of course, the stars of the show, the grapes that have done the perfect amount of ripening to be plucked from their homes and whisked away to fulfill their lives’ purpose. Beyond these three essential cogs in the harvest machine, there are many other crucial elements that help make harvest a success. This year, we are particularly thankful for one of these…our sorting table.
My husband equates our sorting table to the buff bouncers who sit outside swanky Vegas nightclubs and refuse to let him in…not that he has ever tried to get in one of these clubs, or anything. ; ) In this particular analogy, Epoch would be the swanky nightclub, and because we only want the best of the best up in da club (duh!), we have to be picky about who we let in. Enter buff sorting table. Our sorting table helps us sort out the berries that will compromise quality from the best berries that get to enter and light up Club Epoch! Because we always aim to make the best wine we can possibly make, we are forced to be super exclusive with our berries; our sorting table helps us achieve this elusive exclusivity. #qualityoverquantity
Why are we particularly fond of our sorting table this harvest? Well, this year, we had some crazy cool weather in the spring, just at the time our Syrah grapes were setting their fruit. Apparently Syrah was not a fan of this cool weather, and as a result, did not set the normal number of berries per cluster, yielding small, light clusters. This unusual setting behavior coupled with the fact that the vines were already producing less clusters per vine as a result of our current drought conditions, led to lower yields overall. Before you jump to conclusions, low yield (small crop) is not a bad thing. In fact, the lower the yield, the more concentrated the juice and flavors…and we want this. Like so many moments in wine growing, we find ourselves realizing there are two sides to every coin, and what seems negative can also be a huge positive! This particular coin just calls for a little more attention from our sorting table this harvest!
Because not everyone understands the role of a sorting table, we have come up with a video to walk you through its sorting process. Below is a more detailed step-by-step explanation of our how our sorting table helps us select the best of the best!