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Archive for October, 2012

Another Harvest Come and Gone

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit this harvest was very stressful, but in the end it turned out fantastic.  The sugars are good, the pH is balanced, the volumes is good and not mildew or shrivel.  It’s kind of sad, that we wait a year and in a week it is over; a marathon week, but a week none-the-less.  But is it really over; well the picking may be but the wine making and processing has only begun.  Now comes the yeast additions, punch downs, watching temperatures, praying for no “stuck fermentations,” etc.

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Processing White Wines

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

So today, RJ and his volunteer crew will be processing white, mostly Pinot Gris, but we also got small amounts of Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Schonberger from our Gaston vineyard.  What to do with these small amounts.  I think we should blend them and make a fanciful white name like Bloomer’s Blend, named after the dairy farm our winery was built on.  Some people think we should just make small amounts of each wine as a learning experience.  The Schonberger has so much Muscat in it, it would be a shame to blend that out.  In the end, RJ will come up with something and I will get to sell it.  Wahoo!!!

Just in Time

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Fortunately, we got all of our grapes in before the rain.  Unfortunately, we still have to process them outside, but better than harvesting in the rain.  Does the rain affect the grapes?  It can if there is alot of it.  The grapes can swell and burst.  I am hoping and praying all of Willamette Valley gets their grapes in quickly.  It’s a great harvest!

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Sugars and more sugars

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

All of the Pinot Noir is coming in at 24+ brix and the pH’s are good, too.  Alcohol may be a little higher than usual, but the 2012 vintage in going to be fantastic!

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First Day of Our Own Vineyard

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Harvesting of our Forest Grove Vineyard went almost without a hitch.  The fruit looked very good; very large grapes which is unusual.  No shrivel, no mildew.  But the grapes didn’t weigh as much as we thought…interesting!  So RJ loaded the bins unto the “Big” truck and dumped the last one.  Fortunately, it wasn’t full, but it was a sticky task to pick the grapes up from the harvested wheat field.  He started processing those last night but couldn’t finish before exhausted and starvation took over.  A full day of processing ahead of him today.

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Harvest; The Good, The Bad, and the Sticky

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Harvest is the most intense time for anyone in the wine industry (probably anyone in agriculture).  The joy is seeing nearly a year’s work culminate into deep, rich and robust fruit.  You can hardly wait to taste it and begin processing.  But the challenge is knowing exactly when to pick.  Granted this year is a lot easier than the last two but still stressful just the same.  First you want to get the most hang time you can and let the sugars and pH develop and seeds to turn brown.  But the longer you wait, the more you risk the birds devouring your crops, rain and in a few rare occurrences, sunburn.  Then unless you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated crew, you have to wait in line for your crew to harvest.

The next coordination opportunity is timing the delivery of the fruit with processing.  You want to process the fruit the same day it comes in if at all possible, but if you’re dealing with multiple fields, multiple varietals and/or multiple crews, that is not always doable.

If that isn’t enough to juggle,  you need to get the juice to the lab,  and add the appropriate nutrients, sulfur, etc. and dry ice for cold soaking.  Oh yeah, and how could I forget, the crew needs fed.

But even with that, it is like the annual birth of a baby with all the excitement to see how all the effort pays off and it is a relief to get the fruit in and begin turning it into wine.

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