Harvest 2011 was all but complete when I visited Handley Cellars in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County during the last week of October 2011.
I was extremely impressed by the cleanliness of the juice in Handley's current fermentations. They sent their own permanent crew out ahead of the pickers to ensure that any grape bunches affected by rot were dropped. This attention to detail has been a hallmark of Milla Handley's wines through the years.
In 2011 wineries are looking for an acceptable degree of ripeness in the grapes as sugars are lower than normal. I found that the new white wines were showing delightful fresh fruit flavors and balance.
Interestingly, Duckhorn were using a low flying helicopter to dry out Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. A few years ago Marlborough in New Zealand used 200 helicopter as grape defrosters.