17 September 2010

Rain, rain go away.

When I started thinking about what I would write about this week there were visions of purple grapes and sun filled skies dancing in my head.  Watching the rain drizzle down I'm not feeling quite to joyful.  But first things first.
Rosario surrounded by Foch vines
Victoria was beautiful and I forgot my camera so no pictures, sorry.  We love visiting Vancouver Island and had another great trip.  Mostly we walk all day so that we can sit down to a great meal in the evening.  This year we stayed at Abigail's, a bed and breakfast just outside of the main downtown area and slept in a four poster king bed that was so high it had little steps so you can climb in.  It was great fun and we laughed the first few times we climbed on the bed, sliding out was good too (hint, hint M&D).  I only mention the sliding out because my parents sleep about 8 inches off the floor and standing up every morning has become a family joke.  The guest bed is a whole 14"!  But I digress.  As for dining we hit our normal haunts: Cafe Brio, Il Terrazzo, and Bon Rouge and for the first time made it to Camille's.  Chad thinks that may be the best meal he has ever eaten.  Certainly the whole experience was amazing from the greeting, the service and the knowledge of the staff to the wine and by no means the least the food.  We had a lovely bottle of 2007 Orofino Pinot noir from BC.  Sadly another wonderful BC wine which is not exported.  British Columbians do too good a job drinking local wine so there is no need for wineries to go through the hassle and expense of exporting to the US.  If you ever make it up to there I highly recommend checking out the wines.  There are some beauties.
Marechal Foch
Pinot noir
Now back to work.  The weather was good while we were gone and the grapes have been progressing.  The Foch is over 50% through veraison and the pinot noir and pinot gris are turning.  There is softening of the berries in the Muller and the Chardonnay, also a good sign.  Of course we are still weeks behind and now it is raining and they are predicting a few more days.  Normally I wouldn't complain as we need a good drink of water this time of year but it does lower the air temperature and we need more warmth.  Of course, all of this is out of my control so there is no use in stressing.  What will be will be.  The crew is out in the vineyard, yes, in the rain, dropping the fruit that is still green.  See Rosario above.  They are looking at every plant, starting with the Foch, and cutting off any clusters of grapes that have not started changing color.  This is the best time to tell which clusters are lagging behind and will lower the overall ripeness of the fruit at harvest.  After color change has completed there is no way to tell visually which clusters are less ripe.  The crew also spent a few days repairing our picking bins, see we haven't given up on harvest yet!
Sebastian and Rosario
 In the winery my yeast fining to remove the copper was exceedingly successful so I finished putting the blend together and the Willamette Valley pinot is ready to bottle.  We are going to start bottling next week.  We have about 5 days and will break them up over two weeks I think.  Bottling days are long but satisfying as I finally feel that the wine is safe once it is in bottle and I can stop worrying about what might happen.

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