Yesterday the time of year had arrived to walk through the vineyard as a team. It is fall, after all.
Three mules full of winery staff and our long-time consultants, Stephane Derenoncourt and Lucie Morton, headed up the hill and into the vineyard.
This is the time of year the harvest dates for each varietal are set based on Stephane's examination and determinations regarding each grape on the estate.
And so it began with Stephane and Adam: Notebooks, dates, times, locations in the vineyard. Without words at first, they lead the walk through rows of netted grapes.
They look like spectacular jewels on the vine, and you will have to accept my word that each of the five varietals is as delicious as they are visually appealing.
Stephane took long quiet looks over the vines and fruit; gave the vines a shake, tasted, and made notations.
He is meticulous.
And ultimately, he is the last word on when the grapes will be harvested. We feel we could have no finer resource in wine-making than Stephane.
He is a mentor to our team.
And his wine-making philosophy a constant presence in our collective work at Boxwood.
He is as great a resource for our founder and president, John Kent Cooke as he is to those of us newer to Boxwood.
After he conferred with Rachel, Adam, and the other legend in the our vineyard, Lucie Morton, he closed his notebook.
And when it was all said and done and the decisions had all been laid to rest, one team member caught a lift with a wine-making luminary. Lucky dog.
A few words on the harvest: It will be Monday, September 21 st, 2010 when Boxwood's harvest for the 2010 vintage begins.
As you can see from the pictures above, the wine-making legend of Bordeaux, Stephane Derenoncourt who has overseen Boxwood Estate Winery's vintage since our first estate bottling in 2006, with a quiet nod to Adam and Rachel looked up from the fruit and his notes yesterday at midday, "so, depending on the weather, you will begin Monday." When he said that, his tone so calm and gentle, it was still difficult not to process those words like thunder. That moment, when he gives the nod, that is why everyone in these photos came to this great estate; he may as well have climbed to the tip of the weathervane and boomed the words Its time! from the top of his lungs. They have that kind of power in the life blood of this endeavor.
Stephane is a listener, a watcher, a scientist. His words are few; carefully selected and critical to the world-class wines we produce at Boxwood. He has conferred with all the members of the wine-making team, including our bright new intern, Meg Christensen, and all have agreed that the time for harvest has arrived.
And just like that in a few short perfect words uttered with a delicate French accent, the growing season will begin conclusion on Monday. For a little over two weeks, our five varietals will exit the vineyard by hand-picking and gentle movement down the hill to the press pad at the winery.
At the moment Stephane said it was over, I looked around and thought about how much of Adam and his staff's physical and mental toil had been steadily pumped into this paradise since bloom and how quickly the growing season seems to have passed. Wasn't it only a minute ago that I was writing to you of the tiny grapes on the hill, the "babies"?
Time certainly can leave you breathless in a vineyard, no?