The Home Stretch

We may be over 90 percent done with harvest, but our team is still hard at work in the cellar. Early mornings and late nights have yet to slow down, which means neither has the excessive coffee or donuts.

“Peak harvest is arriving and while I thought the summit crested [last week] it looks like we still have some horizon to chase,” Winemaker Brian Brown said.

However, we aren’t far from passing the tipping point.

 Fall colors are appearing through out our ONX Estate Vineyard.

Fall colors are appearing through out our ONX Estate Vineyard.

The Weather Effect

The Central Coast of California has had steady weather for the past couple weeks now, which has been in our vineyards’ favor. We’ve been able to let our ONX Estate fruit hang and enjoy the last vestiges of the Indian Summer, allowing them to achieve optimal ripeness.

The end of the season has been marked by warm days and cold, but not winter-cold, nights. Paso Robles is known for having high desert diurnal temperature swings, which means that daytime peaks can reach 90 degrees with the lows pressing mid 30’s.

Some of the vines are able to tough out the cold weather allowing the fruit to hang on longer and develop the flavors further. However, other varieties are sensitive and can’t handle the cold. Our winemaking team is out every day looking at all of our ranches to see which blocks are happy to hang on and which blocks are ready to be brought into the cellar and put to bed.

Quality Over Quantity

This 2018 vintage we are noticing lower sugars, firmer acids and beautiful fruit aromatics across all varieties. Yields are lower and expressing themselves in more concentrated flavors and density on the palate. All of the fruit is very generous in the tank and we are finding shorter maceration times than years past.

Overall the year looks average in yield, but the quality of the fruit looks excellent. While the reds are in tank fermenting, the whites and pinks are wrapping up their spin on the dance floor and looking to pack up their bags and scoot out the door. And yes, that means we can expect to see Indie Rosé 2018 bottled and ready to drink in February.

We had our first look of both the Indie Rosé and Field Day base blends this week and we are very excited about their potential,” Brown said. “There is still some polishing work to do, but they are shaping up to be the fun, flirty and boisterous wines we’ve known the past few vintages.
— Brian Brown, Winemaker
 We will release both 2018 Indie Rosé and 2018 Field Day in February 2019.

We will release both 2018 Indie Rosé and 2018 Field Day in February 2019.

 Assistant Winemaker Drew Nenow and Enologist Lily McGlothern punching down our fermenting fruit. An important step in the winemaking process.

Assistant Winemaker Drew Nenow and Enologist Lily McGlothern punching down our fermenting fruit. An important step in the winemaking process.

There’s a New Wine in Town

Indie Rosé is looking to be on the paler pink side than normal, but more pronounced on the nose. Field Day is leaning more tropical as opposed to the citrus and melon characters that we saw in 2017.

We are also excited to announce that we are working on a new wine…Indie Blanc, which is going to be introduced in the first part of 2019. We are extremely excited about how it will fit into the lineup.

The end of harvest forecast is looking favorable for the next seven to ten days, so the fashionably late grapes have a little bit more time before showing up to the cellar. When they do, they’ll be heartily welcomed and put into perspective vessels to join the other varieties in the merriment of the vintage.

“We will be happy to see the finish line and perhaps a little bittersweet knowing the end is at hand,” Brown said. “We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labors with all of you.”

Kassidy Clark