Fall Harvest 2020 – Update

This Fall Harvest is certainly living up to the hype we received from our distributers. The deliveries to date have been received on time, and the packaging has been as impeccable as we usually see. It is so hard to believe that the chaos surrounding the California wildfires doesn’t appear to be affecting the shipping at all. Our hearts go out to all of those dealing with this tragedy.

There has been a concern surrounding the issue of ‘Smoke Taint’ possibly affecting this year’s crop. The wildfires this year are different from those seen in recent years, as they occurred earlier in the growing season, before the fruit had been harvested. It is important to know that the fact that when smoke enters a vineyard, even if it is dense, the grapes are not automatically damaged. Another complicating factor is that the wildfires affected such a large area, that testing for the smoke taint is severely backlogged. However, recent results from one vineyard in the Central Valley indicated that from 8 samples, five showed no signs of damage, and three had low levels that would not impart the smoke taint condition.

As we all know, the wine industry is massive. Much money has been invested by large growers, procurers and producers. Due to the testing backlog, many commercial contracts have been put on hold until more results become available. If you still have concerns, try a white Fresh Juice – the way they are processed minimizes the time they are on the crushed skins before pressing. Rest assured, our distributers are well versed and committed to providing only the soundest grapes and juice.


Fresh Grapes

All varieties that have been received have looked wonderful. Standouts from Lodi / Central Valley have been the Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Merlot, Black Muscat and Chardonnay. Sangiovese received from the new ‘Mettler Farms’ look fantastic. We can’t wait to see their other offerings!

Fresh Juice

California ‘Juice Only’ varieties have been in plentiful supply and are still available. Results of the Acidity and pH testing we have performed on the juice has been the best we have seen, with only a few varieties requiring increased acid.

Mosti Fresco and Imperatore juices are expected to be received around Columbus Day, look on our website for updates.

Cider Apples

This year certainly has been a bumper crop for local early harvest apples. Macintosh, Gala, Gravenstein and Paula Red have led the way. What we are seeing is that the apples, though plentiful, seem to be smaller. Results of the Acidity is higher than usual, pH is within range and sugar content is down about 5 points on the Specific Gravity scale. This actually translates to making a more interesting early hard cider, and gives the cider maker more options for sweetening without making it ‘too boozy’.

Look for our Antique and Heirloom special cider juice blend later in the fall – you’ll make a hard cider that’s like champagne!


Though the Pandemic has slowed down our usual scheduling, we are forging ahead with proper procedures for our reduced-size classes. We require masks, perform routine cleaning and provide appropriate social distancing in our classroom and shop.

Our ‘ADVANCED WINEMAKING’ and ‘HARD CIDERMAKING’ classes are mostly held outside and continue to be a hit. We offer a great experience where you get to make your wine right from grapes, and your hard cider from apples that you crush and press, You can’t get much fresher than that! We show you the entire process from start to finish.

We will offer Introductory Classes for Beer, Wine, Cheese and Kombucha late October through Thanksgiving. See our website for dates and times. Don’t forget – gift a 2021 class to someone for the Holidays – you know how much fun they are!

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