In the Heart of the White Wine Harvest: Chardonnay Coming In

OK. It’s official. We’re really in the groove now with this week’s start of the Chardonnay harvest. Urged on by a recent spate of warm days, which were complemented by nighttime temperatures that dropped into the 50s and low 60s, the ripening process thus far has been balanced and in check. Although this year’s Chardonnay harvest is earlier than what is considered average, it is on par with last year’s timing. Depending on a winemaker’s stylistic preferences (and there are many different styles of Napa Valley Chardonnay), this grape variety will be coming in for the next three to four weeks.

Ivo Jeramez, vice president of vineyards and production for Grgich Hills Estate, has been tending to the winery’s estate vineyards for more than 30 years. Ivo looks for Chardonnay flavors that are a bit beyond apple toward pear, with juice that has a certain nectar-like texture. Grgich celebrated its 39th annual Blessing of the Grapes on Friday, August 21. It is a tradition widely practiced in the Napa Valley that has its roots in the Old Testament. Ivo describes their event as the chance to gather the harvest crew and winery friends to toast the coming vintage. A time to celebrate the hard work and care it takes to bring the literal fruits of their labor to the crushpad.