Labor Day has a different focus for our winemaker

While most of us are looking forward to a relaxing three-day weekend, for La Crema Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, this weekend will be filled with last-minute preparation for the 2013 wine grape harvest.

No other time of year can compare to the frenzied pace and long hours of harvest for a winery team. Picks can start in the dead of night while activity on crush pad operates at an almost non-stop pace.

Without the benefit of down time, planning is vital and all equipment and staff must be ready to hit the ground running.

“Right now, we’re testing every element of our crush pad since many of these tools haven’t been used since November.” Grant-Douglas said.

To aid in this effort, La Crema — like most other wineries in the area — scale up with a small army of winemaking interns, some of whom have come from as far away as Italy and Argentina. Many of these interns have already completed a 2013 harvest in the Southern Hemisphere.

And like harvests past, this year at La Crema is an opportunity to try out new equipment and explore subtle tweaks to traditional winemaking techniques. The addition of more small open top tanks for upper tier Pinot Noir production will allow the winemaking team to delve further into methods used to coax the best elements out of our grapes.

And while Grant-Douglas laments the time away from family over the next two months, the thrill of bringing in the crop is why she loves this job so much.

“Fall is my favorite time of year. We’re all energized at the opportunity coming of a new season and creating a new vintage of La Crema wines.”

It all starts on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Check our Facebook Page and blog for updates from the winery!