On my first day working with Sheldrake Point Vineyards, I was greeted by the winery’s Head Winemaker, Dave Breeden, who showed be around the winery facility, and introduced me to the team’s work setting. That day, the company was utilizing its automated bottling line to finish processing their 2008 Reserve Cabernet Franc. The automated bottling line was of a typical assembly-line design and could be successfully operated by four people: one inputting empty bottles for cleaning, one placing tins on the bottleneck, and two boxing the finished product.
Later that day, I met their principle Vineyard Laborer, Jose, who showed me Sheldrake’s Cabernet Franc rows. Unfortunately the summer season was less then favorable, supplying less Growing Degree Days than preferred. Such resulted in poor berry development throughout the breath of their Cab. Franc and other varietal rows. Our mission was to drop under-developed grape clusters so the vines could increase the ripening of preferred grapes. In summary, we dropped between 20 – 25% of the grapes from Cabernet Franc rows using hand clippers.