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  • Writer's pictureSteve Mangold

Clos de la Tech Harvest Fiesta

September 17, 2016

Imagine a steep ski slope, maybe 40-45 degrees steep, a Double Black Diamond slope, a monster slope. This daunting ski run is called Clos de la Tech’s Domaine Lois Louise “Cote Sud.”

Now plant thousands of pinot noir grapes on this steep slope—the orderly rows running from east to west, downhill, tightly packed with vines, tighter and closer than most California vineyards. Farming, tilling, pruning, weeding, tipping and harvesting all present big challenges.

On September 17, Clos de la Tech celebrated the harvest season with a grand fiesta that began with scores of the winery’s friends and family, and scores of Cypress employees and their families, going down the rows of this steep vineyard, clippers in hand, snipping off fat clusters of ripe pinot berries and dropping them into yellow bins.

When the harvesters got to the end of the row, way down below, where they were unable to see the road and trucks and the top of the vineyard, they began to trudge back up the slope, slipping and sliding on this great grape dirt and its fractured rock base: Sweeney Stony Clay Loam.

Oh, and it’s nearly 96 degrees, clear sky, and the harvest sun is beating down. Rivulets of sweat splash on the dirt, adding a mild salt seasoning to next year’s harvest. It’s all terroir.

The reward for this labor was a fabulous Mexican buffet in the original cave, a cool 60 degrees after the heat and humidity on the slopes. Two women made fresh tortillas from masa balls hand-patted and pressed and baked on a huge concave griddle, a comal. The aroma was Mexico distilled.

TJ’s Herradura margarita machine churned out frozen delights, and sparkling wine gave the party the proper festive spirit. Generous vats of guacamole and salsa with totopos, delicious carne asada, rice, chile verde, fajita chicken and vegetables and a whole roasted suckling pig nourished the hungry pickers.

Mariachi Azteca performed. Dr. Rodgers distributed tequila shots from his criss-crossed bandaleros. People were happy. They danced. And ate. And drank. And the children broke the fierce bull piñata, and rainbows of chocolates and candies burst onto the floor. A good time was had by all.

Happy harvest. Feliz cosecha.

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