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L-R: Video of mechanical harvesting of Merlot; Kim loving the new Muscat; juicy Merlot delivered to the winery; Peter Del Bondio, son of Markham President Bryan Del Bondio, interns in the lab; Rogelio cooks up a Saturday working lunch; the cellar crew enjoys lunch.

If you didn't get the chance to visit the winery during harvest, here's an insider's look at what we've been doing for the past couple of months. The video to the left shows how some of our Merlot is machine-harvested. This is our third year of receiving red grapes (only) from mechanical harvesters. The new machines do such a great job of picking cleanly that it is now becoming the preference when offered. The machine picks at night when it is cool and the grapes are delivered to the winery. Mechanically-harvested Merlot can get to cold soaking in the tank almost immediately! I know I am not alone in making the decision to use mechanical harvesters as many of our contemporaries have followed suit due to the agricultural labor issue that we all face in the industry. About 30% of our Merlot is currently picked via machine; Cabernet Sauvignon requires hand-picking because it grows more sparsely within the canopy. 

  We have wrapped up harvest in the vineyard and are now focusing our attention on the new wines in the cellar. If you were to take a tour of the winery at this point, you might see ongoing fermentations that look like science experiments - red grape juice bubbling over tanks until the yeast eventually dies off and the froth recedes. We're constantly tasting and testing before racking them to new tanks or barrels to continue their development. Eventually all of our efforts will end up in a bottle on your dinner table!

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls