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2016 Harvest Proves to be Bountiful

It has been awhile since we’ve enjoyed a harvest like this year. Harvest commenced on August 22nd and wrapped up 52 days later on October 12th. The final pick was a hurried decision, as we picked our Late Harvest Gewurztraminer just prior to the rains.

What was it about 2016 that made it a standout? Leading up to harvest, our growing season was almost perfect. The increased rainfall last year helped get our growing season off to a great start. We encountered very little frost pressure in early spring and the ideal weather continued during bloom and through fruit set.

Several moderate late- summer heat spells helped to push the grapes to optimum ripeness with great flavors, ideal acids and near perfect sugars. The magic was the balanced crop load and weather that did not push us to harvest before the grapes were perfectly ready. In an ideal world, such as the 2016 crush, we take a relaxed approach in evaluating each grape’s flavors, chemistry, seeds, skins, stems and tannin profile.

Harvesting at night! The major benefit of night harvest is that the fruit arrives early and cold to the crush pad. Fruit picked at night, after the diurnal shift, is cold and continues to cool in the picking bin until processed.

When grapes are picked at first light, we attain the same results, as this is typically the coolest time of day. However, the challenge with traditional morning picks, they can, depending on the amount of fruit scheduled to be picked and the amount of labor available to do the job, slowly creep into late morning or early afternoon. Fruit picked in the morning starts out cold but quickly warms and continues to warm in the picking bin until processed. Grapes on the bottom of a picking bin are prematurely crushed by the weight of grapes above: the liberated juice is then subject to oxidation. Not only are warmer grapes more easily crushed, the oxidative degradation rate increases with temperature.

Night harvesting is ideal from a winery production point of view. The cellar crew arrives early in the morning and starts processing the fruit. However, night harvesting is not necessarily ideal from a vineyard management point of view. Large overhead light-towers are needed and individual head lamps are also helpful. The overall pace of picking is slowed due to difficulty in moving around and seeing the fruit. Tractors pulling the picking bins and light-towers are at a greater risk of mishaps, especially on an uneven, contoured hillside vineyard. With these lowlight conditions compromise is paid for in lost fruit - either not picked or dropped on the way to the picking bin.

We feel the pros far outweigh the cons, and night harvested fruit is ideal. Mother Nature was extremely kind to us this year. The 2016 vintage, across all varietals, is already showing the promise of an exceptional year.

New Release Wines from Our Vineyard to Your Table

Our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon represents an "only the best" approach to winemaking. 2013 was a vintage for the ages with storybook conditions: outstanding bud break and fruit set, coupled with long warm days and cool nights. This wine was fermented in small batches, then aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels (75% new). The first sniff and sip reveal black cherry, mulberry, dark plums, and cassis with baking spice, crushed herbs, vanilla and violets. This wine is wonderful in youth, yet structured for aging. Enjoy with filet mignon, bleu cheese or dark chocolate. 380 cases produced
Harvest Dates: October 8-13, 2013
Sugar at Harvest: 25° - 25.9° brix
Total Acid: 6.5 grams/L
Alcohol: 14.1%
Retail Price: $38.00

It seems like just yesterday that we were concocting the idea of the Renegade Sauvignon Blanc, a native-yeast fermented wine. Flash forward and here we are celebrating our 15th vintage of our most popular tasting room wine. Although 2015 did not offer relief from the drought, it did present smaller yields and grapes with amazing concentration of flavor. Aromas of exotic tropical fruit and zesty lemongrass combine with a hint of caramel that imparts richness in the mouth. Pair with mussels, goat brie, or an avocado chicken salad. 368 cases produced
Harvest Dates: September 4, 2015
Sugar at Harvest: 23.3° brix
Total Acid: 6.4 grams/L
Alcohol: 13.7%
Retail Price: $18.00

Rediscover Chardonnay with our 2015 Anderson Valley Vine One Chardonnay. The warm 2015 growing season led to a small crop with exceptional brightness and fruit character. To retain the fresh fruit flavors we whole-cluster pressed the grapes. The resulting juice was then cool-fermented in stainless steel tanks. Only 25% of the wine was aged in oak, while the balance remained in tank. Floral notes of orange and apple blossoms, peaches and lemon zest charge this wine with freshness. Pair with mango red pepper salsa, fish tacos, or butternut squash soup. 431 cases produced
Harvest Dates: September 3, 2015
Sugar at Harvest: 22.3° - 22.4° brix
Total Acid: 6.3 grams/100L
Alcohol: 13.9%
Retail Price: $18.00

Topping Barrels: The Angel’s Share

All great wines must pay their dues. Throughout the maturation of wines aged in barrel, a portion is lost from the barrel due to evaporation. It is said that this portion, the "Angel’s Share", represents the angels claiming their dues. But how much does an angel really drink? At Husch, the angel’s share equates to about one bottle per barrel per month, or one case a year! When you think of our 900+ barrels, that is a lot of wine. To keep up with our thirsty angels, we come through the cellar once a month and top off the barrels. Keeping the barrels full is very important because we don’t want the wines to oxidize and spoil. Though this is a tedious process and one that the accountant would like to prevent, we accept the angel’s share as part of the magic and mystique of making great wines.

Calendar of Events

JAN 20-29 Crab & Wine Days

JAN 21-22 & JAN 28-29 Tasting Room Food & Wine Pairing

JAN 28 12pm-3pm Crab Cake Cook-Off www.mccinc.org for tickets

FEB 25 International Alsace Festival Visit www.avwines.com for tickets

FEB 26 Tasting Room Food & Wine Pairing

APR 2-4 Spring PRP Shipment ships

MAY 19-20 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Fest. www.avwines.com for tickets

MAY 21 Tasting Room Food & Wine Pairing

JUN 3 PRP Picnic, club members only

Attention all Pennsylvania Customers: We are in the process of obtaining our Direct Shippers License in your state. Once it is received, we will send you an email so that you can order Husch wine and have it shipped directly to your home or business. Thanks for your patience.