The first day of harvest dawned with fog and cloud over the Ram’s Gate Estate, but by that time, the first pick was already almost complete.

First day of harvest on the Ram's Gate Estate (01)

Vineyard Manager Ned Hill and his crew gathered at 3:00am in our Estate Wingo Vineyard to harvest Pinot Noir and a small amount of Pinot Blanc for sparkling wine.

First Day of Harvest on the Rams Gate Estate

(Picking before sunup keeps the grapes cool, preventing premature fermentation.)

But no amount of dreary weather could quench the tangible excitement that accompanies this day, the start of the season we think about year-round, the days defined by grape-scented air and fourteen-hour shifts. Across the county, our neighbors are experiencing the same wide-eyed fervor as millions of grape clusters determine the course of each week.

Pinot Noir for Rams Gate Estate Sparkling Wine

This fruit is destined for sparkling wine, which is picked much sooner than its still wine counterpart — lower sugar levels and higher acidity is paramount for the flavors we seek out in our Blanc de Noirs and Brut Rosé. Another key difference between this fruit and what’s to come is that its fermentations — both primary and secondary — occur in Hopland, California at Rack & Riddle (read more about the sparkling winemaking process here).

Pinot Noir Harvest Carneros Estate

And with that, Harvest 2014 has begun! We’ll be checking in with more updates, but in the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – we’ll be using the #SCHarvest14 hashtag throughout the coming weeks.

Here’s to the most exhilarating time of year.

Cheers,
Ram’s Gate Winery

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