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Harvest In Wine Country Report

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by Courtney Cochran

istock_harvest.jpgHarvest is always a nail-biting time for winegrowers, but never more so than in a cool, late year like this one. Why? Early autumn rains can wreak havoc on fruit left on the vine to ripen long into the season, but low sugar levels in cooler years necessitate doing just that.  As a result, this year brought fretting throughout wine country over when to pick versus when to roll the dice and hope for the best.  

In some instances, grapes - especially whites and lighter reds - were harvested a bit behind schedule with little incident, while in others, rain fell on crops that were awaiting that extra bit of sunshine that never came. Here are insights from the harvest trenches on the peculiarity of the 2011 season. 
By Robert P. Farmer

In California's Wine Country, most of the talk is about the Valleys--Napa and Sonoma. But where there's a valley, there are mountains nearby. For decades, brave winemakers have looked to the mountains as a place to claim their stake. And indeed the mountains that flank the valleys have taken on identities of their own. From Howell Mountain to Spring Mountain, the names are gaining reputation alongside the valley counterparts. The latest Wine Country mountain to peek through the clouds is Pine.

Diary of a Crush: Part 3

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courtneyCochran_profile.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Day 3 - Saturday, Sept 22

We rose at five the next morning to pick Kenny's Zin. As I emerged from the guest room I was greeted with a large mug of coffee and pressing questions about how much beer I thought we would need when we finished picking. Unable to think with perfect clarity at that hour, we all agreed to err on the side of "more is better." Amply plied with caffeine and with our beer in tow, we departed a few minutes before 6, giddy with excitement about what was to come.

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