2/08/2009

Wine Whore Review: Harvest Moon Winery

Posted by The Wine Whore |




Harvest Moon�s story is rooted in a region rich for viticulture in California, The Russian River Valley. Named after the Russians who were the first non-natives to settle in Sonoma County, the Russian River Valley was originally a place for hunting sea otters for their furs and providing food and staples for Russian colonies in Alaska. The Valley evolved as settlers from wine-producing European countries developed the region. In 1876 the Russian River Valley produced in excess of 500,000 gallons of wine, with about 7,000 vine acres planted. Although prohibition slowed production, the region was brought back to life in the 1960�s when Bob Sisson, the University of California Farm Advisor for Sonoma County, began urging local growers to turn their focus toward cool climate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Climate and soil also make the Russian River Valley unique. Heat during the day combined with nocturnal influence of the cooling fog gives birth to amazing grapes which manage to sustain their natural acidity over a longer growing season. Goldridge loam soil, created by tectonic plates uplifting eroded ancient bedrock combined with volcanic ash, eroded volcanic material and large amounts of clay and alluvial materials form the deposits of the soil that create harsh yet perfect conditions for growing grapes.

Amongst 12 acres of amazing Russian River Valley vineyards, the family story behind Harvest Moon is planted. Founders Bob and Ginny Pitts began growing grapes in 1977 but the winery actually started when their son Randy assumed the farming responsibilities in 2000 and gave birth to the winery we know today.

Utilizing the remarkable grapes from the family�s backyard, Randy painstakingly creates excellence. What began with an exceptionally good barrel of homemade Zinfandel from the ranch vineyards continues today in 24,000 bottles of wine per year. As a farmer first, he adheres to the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyards. �Stressed vines create complex wines�. Harvest Moon employs an extensive canopy management program including spring suckering, leaf pulling, cane-positioning, fruit-thinning, bull-caning, and deficit-irrigation. Taking great pride in his family ranch, Randy�s wines reflect the flavors and essence of the vines they came from. Moderate in alcohol and body, light on the palate with little tannins, Randy�s wines are very food friendly, ready to drink make, and remarkably tasty, especially with food that is heartily seasoned and made with acidity, such as tomato-laced dishes.

The Harvest Moon Winery reasonably prices the wines which it only sells from the tasting room or Web site. Open Monday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m the tasting room offers a chance to taste their greatest achievements in Estate Zinfandel, Estate Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. Visitors are warmly welcomed in the beautiful surroundings of this winery.

If you don�t get the opportunity to taste Harvest Moon yourself, stay posted as I taste and review the following selections from Harvest Moon:

-Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006
-Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Late Harvest Estate Zinfandel 2007
-RandyZin Sonoma County Zinfandel 2007
-Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Sparkling Zinfandel 2007


In the meantime, for more information, their website has a lot of great features including pictures from their Estate Photographer, great recipes, wine club information, newsletters, and other winery news.

You can also contact the winery directly:

Harvest Moon Estate & Winery
Russian River Valley Wines, Sonoma County, California, USA
2192 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
PHONE (707) 573-8711 FAX (707) 546-8840

Google Map of Harvest Moon


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great review! I visit been this winery whenever I get the chance. Their Estate Zinfandel is my favorite.

Looking forward to your review of their Sparkling Zinfandel.

Lou said...

If you can only join one wine club, this is the one it should be! Top to bottom Harvest Moon's wines were the best in Sonoma. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent wineries in Sonoma, but Harvest Moon stood out amongst the crowd. At their tasting room we met Drew who started pouring for us and taught us a lot about the art of winemaking. We were then treated to having the owner, Randy, spend some time pouring for us. I'm willing to bet there aren't many wineries where the owner takes time out of their busy day to chat with the folks in the tasting room. Stopping at Harvest Moon is a must on any trip to Sonoma.

The Wine Whore said...

It's really cool to hear that I am not the only person out there who has had an extremely positive experience with this winery. The staff are about the nicest you could hope for, the winemaker puts a personal touch on all of the winery's affairs, and most importantly, the wine is excellent! They make some interesting types including some sparklers that you wouldn't find anywhere else and their Zin is great!

They are just now bottling/releasing some new vintages. I would confidently recommend this winery to anyone looking to visit or enjoy a some tasty juice!

Cheers!

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