Showing posts from September, 2012

"He that has a good harvest must be content with a few thistles." ~ Spanish Proverb

A quarter ton of Zinfandel grapes were harvested on Monday. It was a very long, hot day, which included a few thistles in the form of bee stings, cuts, and possible heat exhaustion, and despite all the torment the vines suffered throughout the season from the locust and the well break-down, it rallied enough to produce some gorgeous grapes. True, we might have had a half ton or more, had there been enough leaves and canopy left to shelter the grapes from the eight-week heatwave, but the vineyard manager is already out providing them the nutrition they will need to stage a comeback next spring. Until then, it is on its way to becoming wine. The Cab appears to be the next variety that will be picked. The Petite Sirah should be fully ready, but it, too, suffered tremendous leaf loss due tot he locust, and as we all know from our high school chemistry, the photosynthesis, sugar production, and ripening occur because of the leaves. Without them, we're left with sunburned fruit --…

"It is very strange that the years teach us patience - that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting." ~ Elizabeth Taylor

Harvest is drawing very near. The preparatory "To Do" lists are growing shorter. True, the thought of all the amazing fruit that could have been (had it not been for the locust, the well going out, etc.) continues to reverberate in our heads, so the attempt is made to cancel that long-running tune with reminders to stay focused and get it right with the estimated thousand pounds of fruit we do have.

Aside from an odd-sized barrel or two still to pick up, some Cornelius kegs, barrel racks, etc., a casual observer may wonder what our goals are for this harvest season.

The first goal is to pick at the right numbers. Our new-found chemistry skills should assist in that regard. The second goal is to get all the math and chemistry right during primary fermentation and to let the fermentation take its own course and run until dry. With the gift of early harvest, it is hoped to possibly finish MLF on all wines by the time the cold sets in. These barrels will be topped eac…

"Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act." ~ Paulo Coelho

9-3-12:  A year of hard work, study, research, persevering through pestilence, and equipment failures will soon come to a conclusion at harvest, but until then, we wait. We wait for the grapes to ripen. We busy ourselves with checking our harvest supply lists, checking our procedures and calculations for harvest, checking the irrigation once more, with berry sampling, taking brix, TA and pH measurements, and yet, the grapes will ripen when they are meant to ripen. A component of success in winemaking is learning when, truly, they are ripe and when nothing more can be accomplished by letting them continue to hang.

A successful winemaker speaking on the subject commented, "You don't pick the grapes when they look pretty; you pick them when they look ugly." Since our grapes passed by the optimal stage of beauty and are well on their way toward ugly, we're assuming that we're inching closer, and yet, the wine with the most developed brix is the Zin, and it'…