As the final grapes travel from the vineyard to the winery, a commemorative forklift parade honors the hard work poured into Harvest 2018. Although the weather may be turning, the mood of our harvest interns and production team are anything but gloomy. The excitement and comradery are contagious as another successful harvest is added to the list for Stoller Family Estate.
Cheers to a job well done!
At Stoller, we take great care in harvesting our grapes at optimal maturity. In order to determine ripeness, a representative sample of each fruit is macerated - the process of soaking crushed grapes, seeds and stems into a must - to mimic the crushing process. The residual juice from maceration is then evaluated for its brix, which is the measurement of dissolved sugar within the liquid. Sugar ultimately indicates the potential alcohol content present within the fruit and serves as a sign for when to harvest.
Associate Winemaker Kate Payne-Brown leads the production team in the ceremonial art of sabrage to celebrate the beginning of harvest. This year’s vintage was kicked off with the harvest of Pinot grapes for the 2018 LaRue’s Brut Rosé, the sixth vintage of sparkling wine at Stoller Family Estate.
The vision of this elegant wine was brought to fruition by LaRue Stoller, proprietor of Stoller Family Estate. When persuading her husband Bill on why our estate should pursue sparkling wine, she stated, “It will make Stoller just a notch above any place else.”
And that it did.
We are proud to name our LaRue’s Brut Rosé after the woman who made it a possibility. Our 2014 LaRue’s Brut Rosé is bright and energetic, making it the perfect choice to christen harvest 2018.
As the birds welcome the day with their morning song and the sun reluctantly begins to assume its post in the clear September sky, a special feeling is in the air. In the vineyard, the sound of footsteps can be detected. The footsteps come to a halt and the “snip” of a pruner rings throughout the vineyard. This is no ordinary day at Stoller Family Estate. Today marks the first day of harvest.
After testing the fruit for physiological ripeness, a process that includes examining factors such as brix, pH, acidity, and flavor development, it was determined that the Pinot Noir for the 2018 LaRue’s Brut Rosé would be the first to leave the vineyard. Hand-picked in the early morning to beat the heat, the clusters are gathered in five-gallon buckets, loaded into bins, and transported to the winery to begin the process of becoming sparkling wine.
The 2018 vintage is officially underway.