28 August 2010

I think fall is coming already!

I know it has been a while since I updated you on my life as a winemaker and I have no excuse but I hope you will forgive me.  I thought I would get to tell you that I went into the vineyard after returning from Ohio to find green grapes turning red before my very eyes but there was nary a one.  Well that's not quite true I found three on a shoot that had gotten partially broken in the wind.  When a shoot get damaged the vine does everything it can to get the fruit ripe before the shoot dies.  It is very interesting to see, I'm sorry I didn't have my camera with me to show you.  I also spent some time last week hauling out the DE filter, remember from the spring, to clean and setup for filtering the foch and the chardonnay.  I built a new handle for stirring the DE in the mixing tank and it worked very well so I am feeling good about that.  It needs some modification and some dressing up but all in all I consider it a success.  Sorry you can't see that either, I just didn't have my camera anywhere useful!

As for the week that just passed it was a little more progressive.  On Tuesday we tasted the pinot blends for the last time and agreed that we had made a good choice so I will start pulling the pinot out of barrel next week at which point there will be no going back.  We are going to hold over the reserve wines, Vintner's Blend and Dunn Forest single vineyard, another year in barrel so I'll rack them to neutral barrels on racks and they will get moved to another room so that when I heat the barrel room in the winter they will remain cool.  I filtered the Foch on Wednesday and the Chardonnay on Thursday.  Both went very well, I think the long settling time while I was gone is making filtering easier, similar to when I left in the spring.  I'll have to keep this in mind for next year.  I was a little worried about the Chardonnay because it failed the protein/heat stability test so I had to add a little Bentonite to the wine after I returned from Ohio and that usually plugs up the filter in a heart beat but this time I skated through with minimal problems.   

I did get out in the vineyard on Thursday and we are starting to see some color change, hopefully we will get some more heat but I must admit that it is feeling rather fall like this morning.  We are full two weeks behind last year and last year our Riesling never got ripe and we left it to rot on the vine so you can see why I might be starting to get nervous.  Having a cool site can definitely be a disadvantage sometimes.  So keep your fingers crossed for some warm weather for us.  Last night I was talking to another winemaker who is nervous because he has younger vines and some of them are starting to shut down which may mean that nothing will get ripe.  According to some research that just came out from Dr. Greg Jones of Southern Oregon University across all the growing regions heat accumulation is 20-30% down from the average which is comparable to the 2007 vintage.  I liked a lot of the wines from the 2007 vintage, so if we get another one like that without too much rain at the end I'll be happy.  The joys of farming.

Last night was the Celebration Oregon at the State Fair in Salem.  It was fun to see friends, taste a few wines and pour our own.  We were awarded 4 bronze medals for the 2007 Marechal Foch, 2009 Riesling, 2008 Seven and 2007 Gewurztraminer.  If you missed the event but would like to try some of the award winners stop by the Hart of the Garden building while the State Fair is going on, they have a tasting room set up where you can see the winners as well as taste some great Oregon wines.

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