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We were happy to start our harvest the week after the shaking stopped in Napa. We felt very blessed that both our winery and our employees escaped with little more that broken dishes and a big mess to clean. We rallied support for our many of friends and neighbors who needed an extra hand, pulling together as a community to start the vintage right!

I think the best thing about harvest is how amazing the winery smells! Sauvignon Blanc perfumes the air with tropical notes and when the pumpover crews get started in the morning, intoxicating aromas of fermenting red wine fill the air. The last load of night-harvested Chardonnay grapes arrived at 6:00 a.m. today and the boys in the cellar will be happy to have extra sleep tomorrow morning. There is a still lot of work before all the Chardonnay is down to barrels, but the comradery of working hard to make the best wines together is best part of our jobs. Saturday finds us relaxing on the crush pad at lunchtime, enjoying a Mexican feast the crew whips up while they’re working or a fabulous home-cooked meal from our boss, Bryan Del Bondio, who is celebrating his 35th harvest here at Markham!!! The 2014 harvest has been fast, super delicious and, as I look around in surprise, is already halfway over. 

Certainly the hardest part about harvest is the long hours, but this time of the year I pop up out of bed happily each morning.  Though the thought of the non-fat latte awaiting me at the winery might also help? I know the caffeine boost helps me focus on the necessary chessboard decisions while staring at my tank board each day! My kids complain that I smell of sulfur dust when I return home at night from sampling the vineyards every morning. I watch the weather endlessly and it bums me out when the weather forecasters exhibit signs of glee at any chance of precipitation, regardless of how remote. I know we desperately need rain and it must be exciting to predict something other than sunshine daily, but those of us in the wine industry prone to drama & paranoia find no amusement in the possibility of rain showers during harvest!

Back to the good news… just this week we received our ‘Green Winery Certification’ after dedicating the same effort here at the winery that we put into our ‘Green Vineyard Certification’ back in 2013. Lots of hard work and special kudos to everyone here at the winery that played an integral part in making it happen!  2014 is shaping up to be a great growing year topped off by a powerful vintage - what more could a girl ask for?

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

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