Donkey & Goat

Berkeley's first natural winery, crafting wines
from sustainably farmed vineyards since 2004.


It’s important to remember that wine making begins in the vineyard, not when it reaches the winery. Donkey and Goat prides itself on selecting vineyards that share our same philosophy- making wines as naturally as possible. This means these vineyards are managed with a great respect for the environment. We either don’t water (dry-farmed) or water as little as possible. We either are organic or on the path to being organic. There’s as little intervention as possible. Both the farming of our vineyards and our natural wine making process at Donkey and Goat affect how we harvest.

That’s why today’s Fact Friday will explain some of the unique ways Donkey and Goat harvests: early pick, determining factors, and picking technique.

As stated in D&G’s manifesto (https://www.donkeyandgoat.com/manifesto),  “We pick early, often weeks before anyone else considers it.” Although other wineries may pick before us, we choose to pick earlier than most as an early pick provides us with optimal acidity and ripeness within the grapes. These two features allow the natural wine making process to occur.

There are three main factors that determine when our grapes are ready to pick: ripe flavors, bright acidity, and active wildlife within the vineyards. As stated, ripe flavors and bright acidity allow for a natural wine making process. Ripeness can also be determined by the active wildlife. When bears or birds eat the grapes, they are clearly ripe for picking.

Donkey and Goat has only one picking technique in the vineyard: hand picking. Whereas other wineries may use a machine, we rely on the human touch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXJSL5NUDyo&feature=plcp). We do this since our vineyards are mostly either too old, too steep or have too different of a planting system to allow for machines to pick them.

Thanks for reading this week’s Fact Friday. If you have any questions that you would like answered on Fact Friday- leave a comment and we will try and answer it.

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