The Juice Beauty Farm began its harvest this year with the Sagrantino grapes, an Italian grape variety originally from the region of Umbria in Central Italy. The Sagrantino grape has one of the highest tannic levels of any grape variety resulting in hints of plum and cinnamon in Sagrantino wine.
The Cabernet harvest is done at night to keep the grapes cool and to prevent them from starting to ferment. It was such a fun harvest to watch! The workers moved really quickly, music rocked the vineyard and the mood was festive but hardworking and efficient.
Headlamps & tractor lights illuminated the vineyard while Howard, husband of our founder Karen Behnke, poured grapes from the small picking bins to the big bin. Dick, the former owner of the Juice Beauty Farm, leafed and sorted the bunches to throw out obvious stems. Karen did her best to stay out of the way and just help carry bins!
The next morning, the last bit of grapes were taken to the processors in downtown Healdsburg where they were loaded into the machinery. Workers combed the grapes out of the bin onto the sorter, pulling out the obvious leaves.
Finally, the grapes were loaded onto the conveyor belt to the mashing bin.
As the grapes were mashed, there was a final separation of the stems & leaves into a separate bin which could be used for composting.
The grapes then went into a dry ice bin to control the oxidation.
Finally, the purified grape juice was sent to Ferrari Carano and Dry Creek Winery so the winemakers could work their magic, making Sagrantino, Cabernet and other high end wine blends.
As Juice Beauty converts the farm from the highest level of sustainability certification to organic, some grapes will go to Juice Beauty for use in our organic juice base blend and some will continue to be sold to the wineries.