Harvest is an incredible time of year and we look forward to sharing our experience with this vintage. Learn more about the 2019 harvest season, then get a sneak peek into the future of our Estate Vineyard.
Why does Chateau Montelena harvest at night?
This time of year, the Montelena Estate Vineyard comes alive at night with our vineyard crew harvesting grapes into the late hours. It’s quite a sight to see at 4 a.m., with our crew quickly moving up and down the dark vines lit only by headlamps and lights attached to tractors.
We harvest our fruit strictly by hand during the nighttime for several reasons. First, the cooler temperature helps keep the sugar levels more stable and gives us better control at the start of the fermentation process. The cool temperature also helps preserve the freshness of the grapes, protecting the delicate flavors, skins and pulp (especially important for our white wines). Not to mention, our vineyard crew prefers working in the cool air as opposed to laboring through the hot, sunny days.
Overall, night picking not only assists in producing high-quality wine, there’s also something magical about working in the chill air, surrounded by serenity as the rest of the world is still and quiet.
What is in store for the Estate Vineyard?
Over the course of the next several years, Montelena is taking on the massive project of the largest vineyard replant and redesign in the winery’s history. Replanting a portion of the Estate Vineyard is, undoubtedly, a very involved and laborious endeavor, yet it also presents the opportunity to introduce vineyard improvements that will endure for decades to come.
As this is the third planting at this site, (the first in the 1970s and the second in the late 1990s), we’ve really grown to understand the land and the optimal conditions it needs to produce the best quality fruit. With this new planting, we’ve taken every detail into careful evaluation, from understanding the different soil variations and planting the right clones in the right places, to determining the ideal row orientation (for optimal sunlight angles), and calculating the number of vines per acre that our land can support. By fine-tuning these small details, we’re taking every effort to raise the bar even higher and build the foundation for our future.
Have your own question about the Montelena Estate Vineyard? Ask us on social via our handle @chmontelena.