Harvest 2016 is Almost Over

With over 3 tons of grapes processed into red wine and rose varieties, the 2016 harvest is nearly done for Freedom Wine Company. For many vineyard owners and managers, grapes are still hanging on the vines, but harvest is rapidly coming to a close. Surprisingly, we are still waiting on another half ton of grenache blanc from Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon to round out our year. This is one of the few white varietals still hanging in Santa Barbara County.

Yesterday we pressed out about 160 gallons of tempranillo and syrah both from Estelle Vineyard in Santa Ynez. Estelle Vineyard is located off of Highway 154 just past Roblar Estate. The vineyard has been managed for years by long time expert John Belfy of Bouna Terra Farming based in Santa Maria. Talking to John during the busy harvest, he indicated that his son is taking a bigger role in his vineyard management business and John is looking forward to spending more time on his boat, and less time surrounded by dozens of overflowing bins of grapes.

At the early stages of production this year we are excited about the color, scent and taste of both of these Central Coast reds. The tempranillo has better color extraction than expected and the syrah has some lovely notes of bacon and earth. Don’t we all just love bacon in our wine? We are looking forward to the development of both of these wines in barrel and I will report on any tasting notes prior to bottling.

We were also able to “borrow” some of the syrah fruit to craft another small lot of port wine. We had good luck with our zinfandel port last year and we are equally excited about our syrah port this year. Again we spared no expense with the port and used the same French brandy as last year. We will likely bottle our fortified wine in half bottles this year. Last year the extremely limited production seemed to disappear way too quickly.

We hope to pick up the grenache blanc on Monday morning and will get it processed before mid-day. We are excited about the white rhone varietal to broaden out our product line. We will keep you posted as it unfolds.