30 July 2010

Where did my week go?

I can't believe it is Friday and I haven't had a chance to sit down and write.  To be honest I can believe that I haven't had time to sit down and write but it is still hard to believe it is Friday.  This week has been perfect grape growing weather, cool nights (about 50-55F) and warm days (80-85F).  The only problem is that we are still about 2 weeks behind and could use some more heat but I'll take what we can get and if it lasts this is perfect ripening weather.  We also haven't had any rain for about a month and so the new vines, just planted 2 years ago need to be watered by hand.

As the crew is busy pulling leaves to expose the fruit to more sunlight the watering job has defaulted to Mary and me.  We are a little slower and of course are trying to come up with a better, more efficient way while we work so I have spent at least several hours each day this week watering little plants and cheering them one.  The difference in growth from plant to plant is quite interesting and a few are even sporting a cluster or two of grapes.  We do cut the clusters off as they are drawing nutrition from the plant and we would rather all the plant's energy go into growing bigger and stronger.  We also are watering the replacement plants that are mixed in with the mature ones.  Those we water with a bucket with a small hole drilled in it so that the water soaks in where the roots are instead of running over the surface being wasted.  The new blocks we water with a hose attached to the tank being pulled by the tractor.  Mary and I take turns driving and watering and it gives us a great time to stand and talk.

Also this week we have been tasting blends both in the pinot noir and the chardonnay.  The chardonnay we decided really does need a little tweaking and after several trials and retrials we have decided to add a product called Biolees to the portion of the Chardonnay that has been in tank all summer.  Biolees are the cell walls from yeasts that were grown specifically for this product.  It emulates what the yeast lees leftover from fermentation do but better and it doesn't impart any off flavors, a risk you run using regular lees.  Because the cell walls have been broken down in the lab they also act much quicker in the wine.  What we found in the trials is that the Chardonnay was rounder, creamier and the acid was better balanced.  Hopefully you will agree. 
The pinot noir on the other hand came around on its own and in the end we decided on both a Dunn Forest Single Vineyard and a Vintner's Blend.  I must give kudos to my husband for suggesting how I might make a better reserve wine, it worked.  Thanks honey!  I have yet to decide if we will bottle the reserve this fall or wait till next fall.  I'll make that decision in two weeks when I get back from Ohio.

I also started cleaning tanks.  Next week I'll be moving the Chardonnay and Marechal Foch out of barrel and into tank.  This will give the wine a chance to start settling before I have to filter it, also after I get back from Ohio.  Ahh, the work is starting to stack up.  Hope you all have a great weekend.  I must admit that this is the first one in about 8 weeks that we have no projects scheduled to work on around the house.  We get to sit and do nothing if we desire.  Somehow I doubt that will happen!

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