It’s Harvest Season—but What Does That Mean?

Harvest is an exciting time at any winery. The smell of freshly picked wine grapes fill the air, and all hands are on deck. But when does harvest season officially start—and end? Here’s an easy primer.

What

Harvest as a verb is the action of picking in the vineyards. More commonly, harvest as a noun—like “harvest season”—refers to the months when the vineyard and winemaking teams bring in fruit and process it into wine.

When

For Silver Oak, our harvest season typically begins in September and lasts through October. Of course, this varies from year to year based on variables like weather—and is why information like vintage description on our product cards is a testament to what’s inside the bottle.

Keep in mind that exact start and end dates for harvest season varies for each winery, too. Harvest isn’t like the four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall) that have exact dates. Each vineyard—and each block within each vineyard—is ready at a different time. For example, Twomey begins harvest earlier with Sauvignon Blanc being the first fruit that’s ripe for picking.

What happens during harvest also operates in a cycle. There isn’t a “harvest day” when all fruit is picked at once; rather, we determine when to pick each sites and then deliver the fruit to the winery to be processed within the same day.

Who

Harvest season also varies from team to team at the winery. In the vineyards, tasks include everything from monitoring the ripening fruit and determining picking dates to the actual picking and delivery of the fruit to the winery. In the cellar, the team does everything from receiving and destemming the grape clusters to monitoring malolactic fermentation and racking.

For more, read insights on what it takes to prepare and conquer harvest season from our winemaker, Nate Weis.