In the beginning, we were farmers. The Ponte family purchased the vineyard in Temecula Valley in 1984 and have been farming grapes here ever since. This year marks our 31st harvest, and, make no mistake, it’s our favorite time of year at the winery. Years of planning and months of preparation go into each harvest. Because we carefully select the varietals we grow here at Ponte, harvest allows us to finally see how well our climate, soil, weather and careful nurturing of these plants worked together to produce quality fruit.
Harvest is not a simple process. First, all equipment has to be serviced and upgraded to handle months of usage. Certain blocks require leaf-pulling and trimming. Tank yard equipment and barrels are made ready to store and ferment the incoming juice. Crews are assembled to pick, haul in, crush, sort and process the fruit. Our winemaker decides what to pick and when, then our vineyard supervisor runs overnight crews to harvest each block under mobile tractor lighting.
We are now at the tail end of this busy season, marked by our annual Grape Stomp Festival, which happened in late September. Our vineyard and winemaking team can nearly taste a normal sleep pattern again (which will be more than well deserved!). Our oak barrels and casks and steel tanks are filling up quickly and we are all anticipating tasting what 2015 has produced. Schedule a wine tasting and tour at Ponte soon; the hustle and bustle is slowing down, but you can still see harvest in action, plus you may have an opportunity to taste these wines right out of the barrel. We now offer two ways to tour our winery: our classic, 1-hour Vineyard Estate Tour and our new Premium Tour and Tasting. Click here to learn more about them. And, of course, you must stay for lunch! See our menus and make your reservation here.