Bucket List…La Crema Harvest

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If you follow along on Instagram you may have recently seen that I checked off a major, major bucket list item.  I became a vintner (wine maker).   I packed my bags and flew to La Crema Winery in Sonoma California and worked harvest for four glorious days.  And I’m talking I WORKED harvest.  

My days looked a little something like this; 6:00 am handpicking grapes in the vineyard.  This was what I called the magic hour.  The vineyard is covered in that Russian River fog, a chill is in the air, and there’s a quiet over everything.  Watching the fog break and the sun rise over a sea of vines is nothing short of spectacular.  Let’s just say it was a view I don’t think I would ever tire of.  After my time in the vineyard I’d move to the sorting area where I’d remove all of the stems, leaves, and other debris by hand.  I couldn’t stay here too long as the bees are attracted to the grape sugars and I’m deathly allergic to bees.  1:00 pm quick lunch break then into the cellars where sampling, fermentation, punch downs (the floating cap of skins and seeds are “punched down” into the juice three times daily to extract color and tannins), and barreling happens.  Elizabeth (head wine maker) and her team sample the juice numerous times throughout the day (little glass sample bottles pictured above) to check how the wines are coming along.  I can’t clearly explain all of the how’s as this is where science takes center stage and I’ve never been known for my strength in science.  But basically the wine makers are testing and tasting to find the perfect blend of acidity and sweetness and also measuring the brix (sugar) levels.  7:00 pm clean, clean, and more cleaning because a safe and clean workplace is a happy workplace.  8:00 pm eat something, enjoy a glass of wine and fall into bed.  

Wine making is no joke, at the heart of it all wine making is farming and it takes a village.  From the harvest workers to the wine makers and everything in between having experienced it all first hand I enjoy every glass I pour even more so now having been on the other side of things.  While not everyone can experience being a vintner first hand La Crema has created a Virtual Vintner program which you’ve heard me talk about  HERE.  Essentially Virtual Vintner allows everyone an intimate, hands on look to wine making.  Readers get to follow Elizabeth and her dream team during harvest and consumers even had the opportunity to vote and create a Fall 2015 released wine.  And while voting is closed on that part of the journey they have just launched a Sensory Contest to see how closely you’ve been following along. 

Again thank you to La Crema for allowing me to be part of your team and family for a few days.  It was an experience I will never forget and I can’t wait till the newest vintage is released and I can say, “I helped make that.” Truly, MKR

*All images original to Waiting On Martha  ||  This experience was sponsored by La Crema, a wine I love, love, love and have been drinking for almost a decade now.  All opinions are 100% my own

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  • Stacey / 10.03.2014

    I love La Crema wine and its absolutely amazing that you got to be there during harvest! Color me jealous! Gorgeous pics too, xx Stacey

  • Erin / 10.03.2014

    Wow these pictures are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • What a truly beautiful experience! Your pictures of the early morning fog are haunting! It is my favourite time of day (when I’m actually awake and calm enough to appreciate it!) Thanks for sharing ­čÖé

  • Thank you doll, the fog rolling in was just exceptional! xo

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