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IMG_4614Summer has brought us an overflowing harvest from our vineyard, warm summer nights and misty mornings, perfect for ripening fresh grapes on the vine and early morning strolls through the vineyard.

Tuesday, September 2nd was a different kind of morning.
It’s 6 AM, and not just another day on our bustling Vineyard.
Tuesday was Harvest Day.
The harvest of our estate grown Sauvignon Blanc.

Pippin-hill-harvestWe are beyond pleased with the harvest of our 2014 Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This year, we had great success with a generous crop of 6.5 tons on one acre!

If you recall last year, mother nature turned on her spigot for most of August, resulting in a very wet harvest season. This year, we were fortunate enough to experience a drier season, with ideal temperatures, great weather conditions for our Sauvignon Blanc.

So,  how did we determine that Tuesday would be harvest day?

We sat down with Pippin Hill’s Viticulturist, Chris Hill, to get a better understanding of determining harvest dates. When we asked a simple, how did you know? He explained,

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“We sample the grapes as they mature. We track their progress and take cluster samples, squeeze the juice and measure the sugar content of the grapes, the PH of the juice and the total acidity.  Then, we taste it.   The final flavor of the grape is full bodied, delicious and very sweet.” – Chris Hill

Chris emphasized that there is no single idea as powerful as ripeness for describing and differentiating between our famous wine selections.

Over at  Virginia Wineworks our winemaker,  Michael Shaps agreed that this year’s Sauvignon Blanc juice was absolutely delicious.  The juice offers a balanced, nuanced sense of fruit forward with slight essence of herbs and great nose.

So, why is the sweetness level and taste so important? The nuanced balance of flavors in the grape is what determines if they are ready to harvest.  This changes the color of the grape as well as the taste of the final product.  When under-ripe, the Sauvignon Blanc grapes ares our, bitter, and have a leafy vegetable flavor. In order to get them to the delicious, juicy stage, the grapes require sunlight, and lots of it.  With those ideal temperatures and conditions this August, our grapes thrived.

Sauvignon Blanc is more easily recognizable than the majority of other whites. The nose is delightfully floral, followed by a deliciously fruity body and a equal parts mineral and acidic finish. When you breathe in the fresh aromas in your glass you’re most likely experiencing a mixture of herbs, vegetables, or green fruit.  As a medium-bodied, dry wine, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most pungent that you’ll experience. In a tasting, look for the sharp acidity that comes when sampling this particular kind of wine.

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Stay tuned over the coming two weeks as we harvest our Petit Verdot!

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