Navarro's Damface and Peach blocks are located above ponds and since botrytis thrives in high humidity, we left these fields in 2006 for late harvest. We began harvesting clusters affected with the noble rot on November 1 and didn't finish picking until the day after gobbling down Thanksgiving dinner. Stems on Philo Gewürztraminer clusters are very short and the fruit clumps around the cane, making it hard to remove one cluster without disturbing another. Because of short stems we need to pick late harvest Gewürztraminer differently than late harvest Riesling. Rather than having multiple pickings from the same vine we wait until most clusters in a field are heavily infected with botrytis. Navarro's full time employees know the Gewürz two-bucket-pick-trick. Carry two buckets. Pick and inspect each cluster. Clusters severely shriveled by botrytis are placed into one bucket for Cluster Select Late Harvest and clusters less rotted are placed into a second bucket for Late Harvest.
Gewürztraminer has short stems and the grapes tend to clump up making it a particularly difficult grape to pick. It's hard to find a spot to insert a grape shears that won't squish the grapes.
Picking and sorting with two buckets is difficult; a second pair of hands would help.
The unctuous Cluster Select bottling tastes of lichee, pineapple, apricot, tangerine and honey and is dessert all by itself. The Late Harvest bottling has similar tropical flavors but since it is not as sweet it tastes delicious with pumpkin pie or a plate of warm ginger cookies. Both are Gold Medal winners and Best of Class.
It takes high humidity and cool temperatures for botrytis, the honey-flavored noble rot, to develop. If it is either too warm or too dry you will be disappointed by funky mold, vinegar or no rot at all.