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Neil Bernardi
October 18, 2013 | Harvest 2013 | Neil Bernardi

Too picky? Or not to picky?

Thanks to Jerry for the following guest blog entry. Also, many thanks for all the hard work Mike, Rich, and Mike, we couldn’t have done it without you!


How do we know when to Harvest all these grapes?

Flavor is one of the things we look at, but sugar, acid, and pH also play an important role to help us determine the optimum time to harvest. So all during harvest we have a small crew running around from vineyard to vineyard grabbing grape “sugar” samples.

We are fortunate to have The-Best-Sugar-Sampling Crew in the area.  Let’s call them “RED” – “Retired-Extremely-Dedicated”.  These guys are retired, but they enjoy coming back every year to sample and experience the controlled-chaos of harvest. It is a pleasure of having these dedicated, and conscience guys on my Harvest Team – the four of us have a combined total of 20 years working together.

R DomitilliRich Domitilli
(“Mr. Sweet fingers”)
Rich just finished his 10th year with me.  I think he wishes harvest could be year-round, but I would differ on that opinion! He is a Healdsburg native who grew up running around in the vineyards and orchards in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley (I think he knows almost everyone in town).  He may love walking the vineyards more than sports and cooking?



M EstradaMike Estrada
(“Mr. outdoor adventure”)
Mike has been sampling up here in Sonoma County for the past 7 years. He actually lives in Las Vegas (previously in So. Cal) but moves up here for 2 months every year to work the harvest and enjoy all the great aspects of Northern Cal.  He always has some amazing stories of his travels – Bears, Foxes, Snakes, Coyotes, etc.




M SchrembaMike Sremba
(“Mr. Speed”)  
Mike S. is a retired Southern Cal guy who has been sampling for over 10 years (his 3rd with me). Harvest is his chance to slow down and catch his breath. The rest of the year he is either driving his car on the Race Track, exercising, snow skiing, or golfing.  Our next Team-building exercise may have to be driving high performance cars under Mike’s watchful eye….



I hope to be as active and energetic as these guys when I retire!  These guys are Troopers!

Jerry Chong
Sonoma County Grower Relations Manager


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