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Harvest Fest Recap!

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Wow, what a great Harvest Festival weekend! Even after all these years it never ceases to amaze me that our team manages to keep things fresh, fun and exciting. This year’s Harvest Festival was definitely one of the best that I can remember. We were fortunate enough to have amazing weather, a great turnout and wonderful food and music from Friday to Sunday.

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It all kicked off on Friday evening with a concert by local favorites the Damon Castillo Band and let me tell you, these guys are true pros. The sound was great, the show was fun and personal and most importantly the crowd was having a blast! Damon’s band is really fantastic and seeing them play in such an intimate setting is pretty special. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll have them back next year!

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On Saturday we kicked off the annual Harvest Festival open house and we were blessed with fantastic fall weather. Local band, Soul Sauce, provided the tunes and festivalgoers enjoyed barrel tastings, grape stomping, and so much more. One of my favorite things about harvest fest is the opportunity to educate the public about our vineyards and winemaking philosophy while sharing the process with them. On display we had bins full of different grape varietals and Niels was displaying how we test brix or sugar content. Seeing all of the different varietals side by side is really quite fascinating because you can start to observe noticeable differences in color, cluster size and flavor.

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Barrel tastings are also a great way to give our customers a sneak peak into the winemaking process and a look into the direction a wine is heading. This year we were sampling four wines from our Whale Rock Vineyard: Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. All of the barrel samples were 2013 vintage except the Chardonnay, which was 2014. The Chardonnay was probably my favorite to sample because the wine is literally a month off the vine! Aside from being a little cloudy, the Chardonnay already tastes very good and people were coming back for seconds!

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Sunday morning we started off the day with a lovely Yoga class amongst the vines followed by an organic brunch by local restaurant Centrally Grown. The all levels yoga class was taught by our in house Yogi Lauren Harvey and took place on our lawn at the back of the tasting room. The weather was perfect and the class was the ideal way to start out the day. Following the brunch we eased our way into another day of music, wine and food and it couldn’t have been better!



Harvest Update!

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We are now just over halfway through October and believe it or not we are much more than halfway through harvest. In fact, Niels predicts we will be completely through with harvest before November 1st, which would be the first time in a long time and possibly the first time ever! It also looks like all of our grapes will be picked before we see any rain.

Today we are in the process of picking our Cobble Creek Zinfandel and the fruit is looking very good. At this point, almost all of our remaining fruit is ready to be picked but tank space at the winery needs to be made available before we bring in more grapes. When we experience these condensed harvest seasons it can be challenging for the winery to keep up with the incoming fruit. Now that it has cooled down we can use this time to make space and prep for the next round!

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Some other exciting news you may have heard about is the addition of 11 new AVA’s (American Viticulture Area) under the Paso Robles AVA. This means the Paso Robles appellation can now be distinguished more clearly based on where grapes are grown, giving consumers more information and wineries a chance to showcase the different micro climates within the Paso Robles AVA. Before the subdivision, Paso Robles was the largest un-subdivided AVA in California at roughly 614,000 acres. At Castoro our vineyards fall under three of the new AVA’s including the Paso Robles Estrella District, Paso Robles Willow Creek District and the Templeton Gap District. To learn more about the new AVA’s click HERE.

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Last but not least, don’t forget we have Harvest Festival this coming weekend October 17-19 with live music, barrel tasting, food and much more! It all kicks off on Friday night with a concert by local favorites the Damon Castillo Band and on Sunday morning we will wind down the weekend with Yoga in the Vines and Organic Brunch at 9am. For more details on the upcoming Harvest weekend click HERE.

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Harvest Update!

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With Beaverstock in the rearview mirror, it is now much easier to focus on harvest and we are still in the heart of it! As many of you know, the week of Beavertstock was hot, in fact, it was really really hot and as a result lots of grapes were ripening in a short period of time. As Niels put it, “strange things were happening, we were picking Cab before Chard, which never happens, and overall it was just crazy.”

We were starting to think all of our grapes were going to come in at once, which puts a lot of stress on the winery, and then the heat subsided, literally halting the ripening process in many of our vineyards. Luckily, this gives the winery a chance to catch up and get ready for the next round of grapes, which should be coming soon based on the hot weather we’ve got in the forecast along with a full moon!

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As far as the quality of this year’s fruit, we are seeing great acidity that is very balanced and also great color. As a whole, the fruit is looking very good and will make very flavorful wine with distinct Paso Robles characteristics. As I mentioned in the last blog, due to the drought many of the grapes coming in are very small in size, which means we are getting less juice on average per cluster. With no rain in sight we should have no major obstacles between us and a successful harvest, and believe me, there is no better feeling than knowing all of your grapes are picked and processed!

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In other news, Max has been busy learning the ways of our still and has spent the last few days making small batches of Grappa! Watching the still do its thing is very impressive and quite a sight to see!

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Stay tuned for more updates and please come visit us for Harvest Festival the weekend of October 17-19 for live music, barrel tastings, yoga in the vines and more!