Knox Clendenen: Harvest 2023 Recap

An Update from CO-OWNER, Knox

Knox sits smiling in a barrel of grape vines after harvesting the fruit.

Good morning, afternoon, or evening to you dear reader. I have been let into the insulated and cool sanctuary that is the office to regale you with how our harvest is going so far. Contrary to last year, 2023 has been at a steady pace. In February and March, we had a profusion of rain, which provided much needed vigor to the vines. For most of late August and early September, the overcast weather caused the vines to take their time ripening the clusters. Our first arrival, Pinot Gris, came in on September 6th and since then we have picked Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The vineyards have provided an abundance of grapes with splendid quality. The acidity is high while also reaching necessary sugar levels. I believe this will harmonize perfectly with our use of French oak, creating a balanced and restrained wine with limitless aging potential. Though it is already October, we have a long way ahead of us. The labor is intense, however we have smiles on our faces, and more importantly, an influx of caffeine coursing through our veins. We shall keep marching on and when harvest is over, champagne will be drunk, and many a siesta will be had.

Everything Signals a Good Harvest

Keeping an eye on harvest 2023

Grapes send clear signals throughout their growing cycle, so far, all of the signals have been strong.

The cold and wet winter was a clear signal to take a break and shut down.  Vines need at least 6 weeks of dormancy, which was not a problem this year. The cool early summer has allowed the grapes an easy start to their growing cycle. With average daily temps now hitting 85 degrees the vines and grapes have been signaled to grow. These warm days with our foggy mornings are perfect conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

After many years, our winemaker Jim Adelman can walk the vineyards and pretty accurately predict the yields. His take on the coming harvest is Pinot Noir will be above average in yields while Chardonnay will be a bit below average.

One of the benefits of making wine, is that it never gets dull. Every harvest is a bit different. The 2022 harvest presented lots of challenges for our wine making team. Let’s hope 2023 is a bit easier on them!

Pinot Noir grapes at Bien Nacido Vineyard on Aug 4th going through veraison. Netting is used to keep the birds at bay. Harvest will be delayed a few weeks this vintage, but everything is looking good!

A Wild Ride for 2022 Harvest

Recap: Harvest 2022

The 2022 harvest was challenging with its ill-timed rains and heat spikes, but our winery team is good at navigating around potential threats like these. You might say we are at our best when we get out of our comfort zone and guide the grapes to the best possible solution. Experience counts and we have been doing it for decades – with the same team! The high level of quality we deliver year after year in every wine speaks volumes. Our library wines attest to that. ▲