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Harvest & Grapes

Ramona Valley harvesting generally starts with our White grapes in mid-August and stretches into the end of October for Red grapes.

Micole and Teri start preparing for harvest in July, carefully choosing what yeast to pair with what varietal white and rosè wine, while we allow for native, or non-inoculated red wine fermintations. Each harvest season varies and we are constantly learning more about our craft, and the decisions needed to be made to continually improve. . Should we stick with BM45 (an Italian Isolate we’ve had good success with the Brunello clone from Paciello Vineyards) or try something new, like the recently available Rockpile strain that comes from the famous California’s AVA (American Viticultural Area) of the same name? There have been whispers about some Ramona Vineyards that might have some Petite Sirah available. Could we produce an extra Cab? The Brunello clone (a cousin of Sangiovese) is doing well. Will we have more than last year? The anticipation builds, and with it, some anxiety.

Brix (sugar), TA (titratable acids)

As the grapes ripen, the brix (sugar) will go up, while the TA (acid) drops. The goal is to harvest when all three numbers are in our desired ranges. If you wait too long, the acid will drop, the grapes will over-ripen, and you’ll get a “fruit bomb,” which may be better suited to port. The old saying goes, “Good wine is made in a lab, and great wine is made in the vineyard.” Sure, if the acid is too low, we can add some citric acid, a natural product to bump it up (and some commercial wineries do just that), but our goal is to truly express the terrior (feeling) of the Ramona vineyards with a naturally balanced wine.

Our Secret

Ok, it’s not really a secret — we get there by working. We never use herbicides on our property, practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and fully embrace the knowledge that good wine grapes enjoy the same things we do: dappled sun, a bit of a cool breeze, and enough room to stretch and a natural environment. The vineyard manager’s job is to provide those perfect conditions by removing leaves, dropping excess fruit to control the vines natural vigor and allowing the selected clusters the room to thrive.

Join Us for a Harvest!

Here at Ramona Ranch Winery, we invite our WineClub members, fellow Ramona Valley Vineyard members, and close friends to help bring in the harvest! We often have the same “crew” go from vineyard to vineyard on a weekend – a genuinely good time rewarded by beautiful vistas, camaraderie that comes from shared efforts, and the unspoken rule that your host must feed you well for your efforts. The harvest truly is a celebration of labor and love and we have our wineclub family join us each year.

Exact harvest times vary as only nature controls when the grapes are ready. A harvest too early runs the risk of a green or vegetate tasting wine; too late can result in too much of that lovely jam flavor. We invite you to join our wineclub and come behind the scene at Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery.