Yesterday a crew of Far Niente workers passed through their Chardonnay vineyard, located near Vinoland, clearing the basal leaves from the vertical fruit-bearing shoots. This particular vineyard operation exposes the fruit so that it is easier to remove from the vine.
More and more wineries are experimenting with night harvesting these days, the fruit is still cool when it arrives at the winery for processing and the vineyard workers don't get so fatigued in the heat of the day. I half expect that when I take the Vinodogs for a stroll tomorrow the vines will be naked.
I have no idea what clone this Chardonnay is, I am only familiar with clones 4 and 76, but I would hazard a guess at this being clone 76 because of the smallness of the clusters...but I can stand to be corrected. Whatever clone it is I am positive that the folks at Far Niente are very pleased with the crop this year as it looks superb and plentiful compared with the frost troubled crop of 2008. Hats off to their vineyard manager.