Home Industry News Releases First Pick in El Dorado Wine Region for Gwinllan Sparkling Méthode Champenoise

First Pick in El Dorado Wine Region for Gwinllan Sparkling Méthode Champenoise


Gwinllan Estate Winery & Vineyards harvests Chardonnay with a gentle hand
for their Blanc de Blancs.

Fair Play, El Dorado County, CA. (August, 8, 2020) – The very beginnings of El Dorado wine region’s harvest 2020 launched early, Thursday, August 13th with a pick of Chardonnay for Gwinllan Estates’ 2020 Blanc de Blancs. Gwinllan Estate Vineyard and Winery, located in the Fair Play region of the AVA, is owned by Gordon and Chris Pack and son Jonathan Pack, is consulting winemaker for Gwinllan and portfolio of other El Dorado wine region wineries.  Gwinllan produces an acclaimed line of El Dorado estate sparkling wines, Méthode Champenoise and a portfolio of estate white and red varietal still-wines.

The picking crew was in the Chardonnay vineyard by two-thirty a.m. in order to get fruit to the winery at the coolest temperatures possible. By seven a.m. they had harvested a total of four tons at an average of 18.2 brix. The vines had just had leaf removal the day before harvest so that the canopy protected fruit from extreme heat until the last moment. Beautiful Chardonnay bunches of unblemished, uniformly colored fruit is part of what Jonathan Pack says is the heaviest yield in the last two years.

The fruit went directly to a four-hour press cycle for a very gentle press. Jonathan Pack explains, “I want to see just slight rain drops of juice from the press with little tearing of the skins. Ultimately assuring very clean and vibrant fruit for a delicate Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine.” The 2020 Blanc de Blancs will be released in 2022.

Reports so far on the grape harvest for still-wines in the El Dorado AVA indicate a week earlier than in 2019, with a start the first week in September.  With a brutal heat spell expected to last several days starting this week, the timing for harvest in the AVA could change rapidly.