Thankful for the Harvest

We’re having a good harvest this year in the Santa Ynez Valley, and a good one from our small Oak Savanna Vineyard here at Rancho La Zaca. Last year a late frost spelled disaster. So we will toast this year to the heat and sunshine that makes these babies ripen. I will not bring up how it was 90 degrees inside the house one day and His Grump I mean His Grace will not turn on the air conditioning. My pointing out that we were not growing grapes inside the house did not seem to help.

Grapes at Rancho La Zaca
Grapes at Rancho La Zaca

They pick the grapes in the middle of the night these days, so the fruit stays cool and doesn’t begin to ferment too soon. There is merriment in the air and a sense of celebration. Singing and whistling and what not.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a whistler at 4 in the morning. This man does not look like he’s whistling to me:

Harvesting the grapes
Harvesting the grapes - it's all done by hand. Photo via

It’s interesting if you’ve never seen it. Here is a blog post and groovy video by our friend the winemaker Andrew Murray describing the process.

NIght harvesting of grapes
Whistling while they work in the wee hours of the morning. Photo via

This has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years, and so it shall continue.

Oak Savanna Vineyard Syrah.
Now them are some beautiful grapes. Oak Savanna Vineyard Syrah, destined for Andrew's magic.

Here is Andrew himself, with our vineyard manager Felipe Hernandez, who is also the maker of Feliz Noche wines in the spare time he cannot possibly have. Felipe is a heck of a guy, and you can read his story here. He’s the kind of guy you’d say, Felipe, can we build a jungle gym in the living room with a pink slide and a purple hippopotamus on top? And Felipe would say, “no problem.”

Andrew Murray and Felipe Hernandez
Vintner Andrew Murray and Oak Savanna Vineyard manager Felipe Hernandez

And now a word from our sponsor…

Oak Savanna Vineyard truck
Oak Savanna Vineyard truck.

Hallelujah, amen.

Top photo by me, the rest by Andrew and Kristen Murray. Thank y’all.