August 15, 2022
You can visit Rodney Strong Winery any time of the year, we’re happy to welcome you, but there’s something special about Harvest. And August brings the beginning of Harvest. You can wander around the vineyards and nearly hear the grapes ripening. That’s hyperbole, of course, but it is true that wine country sounds different this time of year. I wake up every morning to the sound of the trucks that transport the grapes, their metal gondolas rattling in the hours before dawn, roaring down Chalk Hill Road heading to a vineyard somewhere to be filled with newly picked fruit. And trust me, there’s no snooze alarm on Harvest. At the winery, there’s a steady buzz of forklifts, a symphony of backup noises from an army of vehicles, and warning horns of all timbres filling the crazed atmosphere. It sounds like a John Cage piece around here. These are the sounds of Harvest. Winemaking is decidedly hard work, but it’s hard work that yields a tangible and pleasurable result. Wine.
The first time you visit wine country during Harvest, it changes you. It changes your views about wine. Wine is, first and foremost, an agricultural product. We are at the mercy of Nature, no matter what we might want to believe. So, our Rodney Strong Winery family is grateful to the Earth, and grateful for our blessed Sonoma County, and we seek to preserve and protect both in all our endeavors. The things we do to make our winegrowing and winemaking more and more sustainable, and they are considerable and continuing, come back to us tenfold in the quality of the wines and the quality of the environment we’re a part of. Seeing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes arrive at the winery destined to become something delicious after years of hard work and passion is inspiring. Any wine lover will be moved and awestruck by watching Harvest in full swing. I love Diet Coke, but I’m pretty sure going to the Coca-Cola bottling facility isn’t going to change my life.
It looks to be a normal-sized crop this year. This will vary among varieties, or course. We are still in a drought in California, which is a bit like saying we’re still on the west coast here in California, which affects crop load. There was a frost in April that also affected the vines’ production. But, as I said, wine is, of all our alcohol choices (beer, vodka, bourbon, etc.), the one that is, at its heart, agricultural. If the fruit arrives healthy, the abundance doesn’t matter. Will 2022 be a great vintage? Too early to tell. And unimportant. Right now we celebrate that another vintage has arrived, and that we’re here to wonder at it. Wine has always been my personal miracle. Each vintage of the past 69 has marked some sort of milestone in my life. My hope is that when each of you first drinks a bottle of 2022 Rodney Strong wine you’ll look back at 2022 as a year that brought you more joy than sadness, more luck than misfortune, more fulfillment than loss. The fruit’s arriving. There’s no time like right now. Let’s make something extraordinary.