Toward the end of last week, we welcomed another Russian River Valley Pinot Noir crop to our crushpad: El Diablo Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

During harvest at Ram’s Gate Winery, one of the most important pieces of winery equipment is the sorting table, where a dynamic team monitors the fruit passing by on conveyor belt to remove the bad from the good.

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

We’re incredibly fortunate to receive truly beautiful fruit from our vineyard sources, but even within an exceptional crop are a small few clusters or grapes that are under-ripe, over-ripe or compromised by mold or another disease. More commonly, the bins have a bit of “MOG” – material other than grapes – that sneaks past the vineyard crew’s notice.

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

The job of the sorting table crew is to remove these imperfect clusters, leaves and any other “MOG.” On Friday, the sorting table team was made up of a few members of our membership team.

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

When the fruit arrives from its vineyard source, our winemaking team forklifts the half-ton picking bins onto the crushpad. There, they slowly empty each bin onto the sorting table. Pictured above, Omar gently rakes Pinot Noir at a pace manageable for those on the sorting table.

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

{Above: the view of the crushpad from the fermentation room.}

Ulises Valdez Diablo Pinot Noir

After cluster sorting at the sorting table, the grapes travel up another conveyor belt onto one last sorting device: the berry sorter. This ensures one final quality-check before the grapes are moved into a fermentation vessel.

Last weekend, our collection of harvested lots expanded to include Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay and Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay, making it over a dozen lots harvested before the first of September.

And thusly, harvest 2015 marches on.

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