SANTA MARIA - Netting that protects wine grapes ripening on the vine means harvest is right around the corner.
"This is the prom, you know you get so excited", says veteran winemaker Lane Tanner who's been making award-winning wines in the Santa Maria Valley for decades, "literally I wake up every night thinking do I have the right yeast, do I have my cultures, when should I start that, how are the grapes doing, I gotta get out there, I've walked the vineyards now a number of times."
Tanner says despite the recent heat on the Central Coast the harvest is right on schedule.
"You gotta have hot weather in Paso or those cabs and zins will never get ripe", Tanner says, "the Santa Ynez Valley the same thing, you have to have the hot weather for the things that are planted there, and you have to have the cooler weather for the Pinot that is planted here."
They are quickly getting ready for the grapes at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria, a 250,000 square foot wine making wonder all under one roof.
From the trucking of the grapes into the facility, to the crushing and barreling of the juice, to the bottling and shipping of cases out the door.
"This places hops", Tanner says of the sprawling production facility she's worked at since it opened. "there's a number of wineries within this building."
Experienced vintners like Tanner know Mother Nature holds most of the cards in making wine.
"Your are hoping for the best fruit possible, you are hoping for that perfect ripening times so you have those gorgeous, mature fruit flavors", Tanner says, "but the fun part about it is, whatever it is, it is, that's what makes each vintage different."
The annual grape harvest typically runs through the end of October and is credited with providing thousands of jobs on the Central Coast.
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