Yes, yes we are grape growers…but we also grow succulent honey scented French melons on River Road vineyard. These are the best melons…look for them under our label, Monterey Sweety. For an unforgettable experience serve with some lavender-vanilla ice cream! Next year look for them for sale on our website percheron-mcfarland.com
Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay sunbathing and waiting to be harvested by moonlight!
Warmed by the sun, chilled by the cold autumn evenings, these Chardonnay grapes, once harvested, will head to the Napa Valley destined for sparkling wine! Grapes for sparking wine are harvested much “greener” than for still wine, which we harvest at 23 Brix for our wines.
Ready and waiting for a night of work; these grape harvesters move at about 5 miles per hour as they gently shake the grapes from the vine with bowed rods that are set to a “pick” that corresponds to the Brix (sugar at harvest) of the grape.
This photo shows how the harvester straddles the vine row. Note the driver at the very top of the towering machine. Chief Mechanic, Mario Ortiz, rides along to make sure the machine runs perfectly. The grapes being harvested are from 42 year old “own-root” vines on River Road Vineyard. River Road Vineyard was the first vineyard planted in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and one of the last to be 50% own-root vines.
Out with dad: Dirt and Kodak, four legged “children” of photographer George Worthy.
Travis McFarland “warming” the seat of his grape harvester! Travis is a grandson of Jerry McFarland; he works with this dad, Kelly, as a fifth generation California grape grower.
Note in the foreground a small gondola loaded with Chardonnay grapes, pulled by a tractor driven by Austin Worthy. Follow Austin’s journey as a first year harvest tractor driven on our Facebook page Percheron-McFarland. Austin has discovered that driving a tractor is harder than it looks.
Rookie tractor driver Austin Worthy!
As sunset begins, the machines rumble to a start into the long, cold night. By 3AM these Chardonnay grapes will arrive in Napa for early morning crush!
Little Chardonnay clusters forming, April 2, 2015. Bud break on chardonnay in the Gonzales area. February 26, 2014.
More little Chardonnay clusters forming, April 2, 2015. Bud break on chardonnay in the Gonzales area. February 26, 2014.
Upper sloop, River Road Vineyard looking toward the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, Gonzales.
Big Pond - River Road is 50% on own root, 100% Chardonnay and a high density vineyard planted on 6 foot rows.
View of Big Pond-River Road Vineyard from the pond, looking north west toward the Pacific Ocean, Monterey. Big Pond- River Road is bordered on the east side by the Salinas River, and studded by old growth oak trees, planted 100% to Chardonnay, half of which was planted 40 years ago on own root vines.
Another view of Big Pond-River Road Vineyard showing her autumn colors looking west to the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, River Road Vineyard and Sleep Hollow Vineyard. Many years, during the late winter, the mountains above the vineyard will be covered with snow!
Another autumn morning view of the upper slope of River Road Vineyard looking north east toward Talbott Winery, Gonzales, California.
Another view of River Road Vineyard showing her autumn colors in the Pinot Noir planting looking west to the Gabilan Mountain Range.
View of Pinot Noir on River Road Vineyard. Bud break was March 15, 2014. Note fog lying on the valley floor with a view east over the “upside down” Salinas River and the Gabilan Mountains in the background.
Nutritious over crop is in place which provides a home to beneficial insects. The vineyard is side disked and ready for 2014.