Finally, the Malbec is in the house.
For 15 home harvests, most of my grapes have been in by the end of September; this year, the first major batch of fruit came in Octrober 2, with the rest anywhere from one to three weeks off.
I know you're all asking, "How late is that really, Tim?" Here's how late. This morning, I was talking with Ed Boyce, the winemaker at Black Ankle Winery in Mt. Airy, Maryland, and I told him I was about to go pick up some Malbec, my first grape of the season. He chuckled and allowed as to how his Malbec was already fermenterd and pressed. There's the 2010 story: the East Coast gets ripe sooner than Lodi this year.
Take that, climate change deniers.
The stems were also unusually tough, forcing us to stop the crusher several times and yank out stem tangles before proceeding. As bad as untangling my wife's bras when I do the laundry.
But the grapes and juice are tasty, and currently resting and regaining their bearings after being ripped apart. Late tonight, after maybe 10 hours of early maceration, I'll pull off a couple gallons of juice for the annual Pink Wine Project and chill it overnight. Yeast in the morning, and once the pink starts bubbkling, and the Malbec starts fizzing in its trash can fermenters, this will finally feel like a real harvest.