Winegrowing Philosophy

Why our wines taste the way they do...

Foggy cold mornings... hot sunny afternoons... A great beginning to great wine... Our grape growing/winemaking philosophy combines two traditionally separate tasks--growing quality winegrapes and then making them into wine--into a single principal called WineGrowing. As both grower and winemaker, Randy Pitts ponders on the winemaking as he cultivates the vineyards throughout the growing season. From spring suckering, leaf pulling in June and July and cluster thinning in late summer, our emphasis is in the vineyard. Therefore perfectly ripe, balanced fruit arrives at the crushpad each September ready for the gentle, non-interventional processing into wine. Harvest Moon practices on-time harvesting--a once common winegrowing approach that employs the picking of the winegrape earlier rather than later. While many contemporary winemakers harvest winegrapes later in the season with high sugar content, we're finding that our berry structure is still intact and the future wine tastes juicy with lower sugar and less solids in the grape arriving at the crushpad. Earlier harvesting equates to lower sugars and higher natural acids in the grape and ultimately lower alcohols in our finished wine. A perfect recipe for a balanced wine.


It's all about the juicy wine drinking experience. Across the varietal board, our wines exhibit fresh, juicy vineyard-focused flavors which burst on the palate and possess long, lingering finishes. The grapes that are crafted into our wines contain high concentrations of natural acidity which activates your salivary glands, ultimately making your mouth water. This comes from harvesting the grapes just a bit earlier than contemporary wine culture says. The juicy factor is just another layer adding to the overall complexity of lower alcohol wine.

Our Take on Barrels: Harvest Moon employs a very light new oak regiment. Only 4-6 new oak barrels are purchased each year and the remaining 90+% are mature 4-5 year old oak previously used by a larger winery.

We feel our wines represent an elegant approach to the cool-climate Russian River Valley and greater Sonoma County. As aspiring Foodies and purveyors of home grown produce, we enjoy these wines as they complement our nightly meals rather than compete with the food as the high alcohol wines tend to do.

In 2001, Randy met Master Enologist Bruce Rector who mentored Randy, and later assistant winemaker Nate Wiemeyer in the architecture of elegant wines. Our desire to produce Zin with balance has taken us into a wine world rarely visited by today's winefolk. With the natural growing conditions of the Russian River Valley along with the help of Juan, Ricardo and Nate, we're on our way to crafting wines that whisper.

A note on Sustainability in the vineyards and cellar: Harvest Moon farms nearly 85% of the grapes that go into our wines so we spend many months each growing season among the vines. Because we continually pull leaves (allowing airflow inside canopy to dry out the dampness) and cluster thin in July (preventing unnecessary rubbing of the tender skins against each other causing rot), our pest pressure is very low thus reducing the overall amount of sulfur and other chemicals used to nearly nothing. Once made into wine, we use much less sulfur to preserve the wine while barrel aging because our wines contain higher acid levels which act as natural preservative against spoilage organisms. We are committed to sustainability both in the vineyards as well as in the cellar and believe this balanced approach is the future in Wine Country.

We hope you enjoy our very unique artisan-production wines!

Have a question about grape cultivation or vino production? Email randy@harvestmoonwinery.com