Early this year, when winemaker Rick Longoria scheduled an early-August relocation from his longtime space in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto to his new winery and tasting room on East Chestnut Avenue, he thought he'd be well ahead of harvest.
Mother Nature, however, holds the cards. All of them.
A warm growing season has hastened the maturation of many grapes, white and red, with the chardonnay and pinot noirs destined for local sparkling wines under harvest as early as the first days of August.
When I photographed part of the moving of barrels Thursday morning, Longoria said: "I could have picked some of my first grapes Wednesday, but don't have a space for them until we move."
He ended up with his first fruit — from Rita's Crowne — later on Thursday, according to Diana Longoria Friday.
Throughout the day and into the evening Thursday, the Longoria's Ghetto winery site was gradually cleared and barrels restocked in the new facility on Chestnut.
Seven 18-wheeler truckloads later, all the barrels had been moved, and the stainless steel tanks were transported via one load on an open flatbed, said Aaron Watty, assistant winemaker at Longoria.