Walsh clients are currently 40% complete with their 2013 harvest. Work is being done in Stags Leap, Rutherford, Carneros, Russian River, Alexander Valley, and the Sonoma Valley. Yields are above average (~+20%) in most varietals and in most regions. Walsh average client yields as of 9/16/13:
Sav Blanc 7.0 tons/acre
Chard 4.5 tons/Acre
Pinot 4.5 Tons/Acre
Cab Sav 3.8 Tons/Acre
By Pick Type Mix:
48% Hand/52% Machine
The September heat wave produced many raisins (dehydrated fruit), which will definitely lower yields for most of the remaining blocks. In many cases, Walsh clients are utilizing mobile sorting systems to eliminate these potentially "jammy", "cooked", "baked" or otherwise "unfocused" flavors from their black grapes. By comparison in 2012, we did not experience much of any dehydration, which lead to the record size crop.
Walsh has learned it is much less expensive to remove sunburn and/or dehydrated fruit with high speed optical sorting equipment, when compared to thinning whole clusters in the field. Thinning in the field entails labor costs and growers lose a high percentage of good quality fruit in the process.
Winemakers often ask if they can keep "dimpled fruit" and "sort out the raisins". Most clients have found that making this distinction is possible with optical sorting equipment. But as good as the sorting equipment works, they are not perfect, and it is better to avoid sun related fruit problems with traditional canopy management.
Stand out differences this year are more "pips" and "jacks with grapes still attached". The presence of jacks can impart negative green and/or herbal flavors in the wine. We have attached an example picture of a "jack with grapes still attached". We are seeing more jacks in the fruit fruit this year.
Right now the weather is fantastic, with temps in the mid-to-high 80's and partly cloudy. The picking has slowed some as the weather has cooled.
Learn More About Walsh.
Walsh is a leading service provider at harvest of:
Night Hand Harvesting
Machine Harvesters with On-Board Berry-Sorting
Harvest Lab Analysis
Mobile Optical Sorting