Images from Blue Rock Harvest 2015 offers our readers and Ambassador members a view into the world of a winery harvest, and insight into the results of this year’s crush from our owner Kenny Kahn. We are also sharing some of the backstory on these fantastic harvest images taken by guest photographer Loren Root. Loren, a veteran of 16+ years in the wine industry, is a terrific artist whose eye for the rigors of harvest is apparent in these compelling photographs. This photo essay is a testament to the men and women who do very difficult labor, under fast-paced and challenging conditions, in order to deliver our exceptional fruit to the winemaking team. Neither Blue Rock nor any other winery in California could make the wines we make without the contributions of these workers, and for that, we offer our sincere thanks for a job well done.
The following observations are from owner Kenny Kahn regarding Harvest 2015.
First of all, the quality of the fruit is exceptional. The berries are small and intensely flavored. This kind of berry typically produces wines of exceptional concentration, correct levels of tannin, and balance. This is what it’s all about really. Now, this was the earliest harvest anyone can remember around these parts. Bud break was in late February, and that means we had an uphill battle against the elements. Luckily we had no frost, but we had some difficult weather in late spring that led to this year’s harvest being 45% smaller than last year’s. This is one of the great paradoxes of this business. We have much less fruit than last year, but the fruit we do have, is wonderful. We will make less wine in 2015, but we will make perhaps our best wines ever.
With less fruit and smaller berries we decided to increase our time in the cold soak. This extracts flavor and fruit but not tannins. As you can see from the two photos above, our new crush pad got a real workout. While the number of tanks might make you think of a larger, more commercial winery, this is just fine winemaking in action here at Blue Rock. With this many tanks, we can give each variety its own space for cold soaking and fermentation, without moving the wines around and waiting for one to finish fermenting before starting another. In essence, we built our crush pad to coddle our extraordinary fruit, and we are convinced this will lead to the best wines we have ever made. I just tasted through the entire lot of wines, and from where they are now, I was really pleased. We are very excited about this 2015 Harvest. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Syarh, Malbec, and Merlot the wines are just exceptionally balanced. It is going to be a fun job to taste through identify our best barrels from this exciting year at Blue Rock.
Guest Photographer Loren Root Shares a Little About What this Harvest Assignment Meant to Him
I often tell people that making wine, which I did from 1999 – 2002 for a boutique Cabernet producer in Napa Valley, was my favorite job ever. So I jumped at the opportunity to observe a harvest and immerse myself within all aspects of it with camera in hand.
Seeking images to make, brought back memories of just how physically demanding winemaking can be. I think too often people get caught up in the “romance” of it all, but forget about the people huffing boxes of grapes around rocky, uneven hillsides, stooped over all day long with aching backs, rolling around 100# barrels, carrying heavy hoses and shoveling and raking grapes all day in the hot sun. I have so much respect for these people, and I really wanted to bring that to life through images so others could hopefully see the beauty in it. My goal was to try to capture both that effort and the beauty of this once-a-year event, and I am honored such a remarkable place like Blue Rock Vineyard allowed me full access to share their story.“
Loren, we agree with you. Your moving images of our people and this harvest will forever be part of the Blue Rock winery family. Thank you so much for contributing this fine work, and a huge thanks to our readers and clients for supporting the wines of Blue Rock Vineyard. Harvest 2015 is in the books, and we hope to see you out here soon. Until then, be well and drink wine.