A Day in the Life of a Winemaker During Harvest

by Scott Harvey on October 11, 2012

Scott moving grapes from the Vineyard 1869 vines

It’s all about juggling. I’ll have at any one time 30 to 40 fermentations going. Yesterday started out with me getting Bill ready to go to the warehouse in Napa to pick up wine for our shipping area located in the basement of our house in St. Helena. Once he was off, I had some time to spend on finishing last month’s federal excise tax forms including the ss4 online. We have to file federal excise taxes (Form 702) every month. I worked on that until about 1:00pm when my nephews friends from Denmark showed up. While I was enjoying a glass of Riesling with them, Bill showed up with 177 cases of wine to be unloaded. I enlisted the help of the young folks from Denmark and we unloaded the wine into the cellar, paying them each for their help with a bottle of wine.

From there, they accompanied me to the winery to pull a sample of a Cabernet fermentation I’m monitoring for port wine production. I gave them the quick tour of the winery, pulled the sample and headed back home to my lab. In the lab, I determined that the fermentation had progressed to the point where the high proof needed to be added. I then wrote a work order explaining how much high proof needed to be added and sent it off to the winery. Below is a link to a copy of that work order. After that, I began to cook. Being trained as a winemaker in Germany not only did I learn the European style of winemaking, I also learned a lot about German cooking. So while one of our guests was pounding out veal for schnitzel, I was making the dough for spaetzle. I invited the young Danes to stay while Ken McGill, our 89 year old Napa Riesling grower, showed up along with Drew from Wine Woot. We had dinner under the stars with plenty of wine from the cellar. Today, I’m up bright and early, getting ready to head over to the winery to start the bottling of our new 2011 One Last Kiss white vintage.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

stephen hanig October 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm


Sorry we couldnt make it to visit this year. We had a problem with Tamaras work schedule. I had to comment about Bill, your assitant to the assistant executive wine maker. I am surpried you had to get him ready. I thought he was
up and at em at the break of dawn. He must be enjoying too much of that great wine of yours. Glad to hear the harvest is going well and we look forward to tasting the results. Hi to Jana for us. Bill and Connie as well.

Stephen and Tamara Hanig


Jana Harvey October 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Scott and Bill are both out and at it again today. Boy have they been working hard. Harvest is going great.
We’re sorry to miss you this season. Hopefully next year.


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