Monthly Archive for October, 2012

Tuesday Night Dinner

Dinner in the Lafond Winery Back Patio. Delayed by a center divider fire on highway 101, with all traffic stopped in both directions, everyone arrived more than one hour late. Mirella, with the help of Pablo, prepared a delicious meal and with the wine flowing freely the pain was quickly forgotten.

New Harvester Demo

Yesterday, Tuesday, we had a demo of the Pellenc harvester which earlier we characterized as the Swiss Army Knife of harvesters. It turns out it is as impressive as it looks both in what it does and what it costs. Our vineyard foreman Enrique drove it for a while, he can be seen in the cab. A good demo but, unfortunately, in a block severely damaged by Spring frost so we could not see its full potential.

Harvest Celebration / Entrance

The Tasting Room – Visitor Side / Business Side – Cowboys Welcomed

Punching Down

Alex ‘punching down’ the must. The first picture is taken in the ‘cold room’, a large insulated room, where we bring down the temperature of the newly crushed grapes to around 40F before initiating fermentation. The room is filled with 10 of these small one ton fermenters that we use for special lots.

In the second he is ‘punching down’ the larger jacketed fermenters. Here he uses a compressed air ‘punch down’.

Lafond Winery Entrance

Mirella has decorated the entry with some unusual squash and pumpkins, from the nearby Jalama Farms, in preparation for our Open House this weekend. This is ‘Celebration of Harvest’ weekend. Join us!

Looking into the Future

We are testing what we consider the ultimate in harvesting machines. Pellenc is giving us a demo.

The harvester is basically the same Pellenc crusher-stemmer that we are presently using only it does it all in the field. It is more machine than we can use but we are dying to see it operate in our vineyard.

This is not only a harvester but it is designed to serve other vineyard functions – pruning, spraying, leafing. It is the Swiss knife of harvesters.

Picking Box Traffic

Boxes coming and going.

Day Off

Today, Thursday, October 11, Bruce called off the harvest so that they could catch up – press some tanks, fill barrels. The fermenting tanks in the foreground are Pinot Noir.
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Viva the Funk Zone

Funk Zone Celebration, Saturday, October 6 – I think this is the first one. The Funk Zone comes to life with large numbers of people wandering the Tasting Rooms and shops. There was a time, not so long ago, when merchants would have resented the term Funk Zone but now it has become an area identified by the city and soon to be jealously guarded.

We were crushing grapes which sort of validates the name, Funk Zone, since the area is theoretically reserved for artisans. Image is of our Tasting Room taken at around 3:00pm and I was told that it had not abated since opening at 10:00am.


Two of our three sorters, one is hidden by the machinery, who are with us for the harvest. Not much gets by them. What is needed? Good eyes and quick hands.

In the upper conveyor leaves and whole clusters are removed in the lower conveyor, small stem jacks which somehow get by the machinery. Small amounts but our winemaker is looking for perfection.
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Thursday 10/4/12 Very Busy!

The image shows new grapes being processed on the left, while on the right, grapes that have completed fermentation being pressed. It makes for a very busy day.
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2011 SRH Chardonnay

We are releasing our 2011 SRH Chardonnay. We have been out of this popular wine for several months. Although, only recently bottled it is progressing very rapidly and we expect it to reach its full potential in January. It has all the flavors and complexity of the 2010 and in fact it may be better.

Suggested Retail Price: 22.00
To order:

Pinot Noir Harvest

Filling the picking boxes with the processed grapes and staging them before loading by forklift into the fermenter.

Because they were picked at night the grapes are already cool, usually in the low 50sF.

Once in the fermenter they are further cooled to slightly above freezing – allowed to warm again and then innoculated with yeast.

Click images to enlarge:

View of Pinot Noir Block

The photo, with the surrounding mountains, illustrates the narrowness of the valley in the Santa Rita Hills, the principle factor that moderates the weather by trapping the ocean fog and making the district one of the coolest growing areas in California. Ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Click image to enlarge: