07 October 2010

Are you suffering from WIBS?

pic courtesy of Van Duzer Winery
Chances are you aren't unless you are a winemaker on the west coast this fall and more specifically one in the Willamette Valley at which point I am almost 100% sure you are among the suffering.  I myself was an unknowing sufferer of the disease until I was recently diagnosed by my good friend and fellow winemaker Jerry Murray at Van Duzer Winery, about 45 minutes north of here.  Jerry says that Weather Induced Bi-polar Syndrome (WIBS) can be aggravated by repeated checking of the weather forecast and then looking at fruit in the vineyard.  The symptoms are feelings of elation when the sun is out and the thermometer reads 80 followed by extreme lows and the conviction that no grapes will be harvested this year when the clouds roll in, rain threatens and the temperature isn't above 62.  The fact that these highs and lows can occur on the same day only increases the severity of the swing as well as raise stress levels and here at Airlie has caused Mary to run to the coast and go crabbing.  I am very appreciative that Jerry formally diagnosed the disease and gave it a name.  I am hoping that he is working on a drug to alleviate the condition as I type.  I was thinking something alcoholic (smile . . . feel high) but then remembered that none of us have any fruit to be making alcohol (sigh . . . another low).  If you are interested in reading more about Jerry and his philosophies click here, you'll be taken to Jerry's latest comments on the vintage, beautifully expressed I think. 

As far as what else I have been up to, last week we bottled the 2009 Willamette Valley pinot noir, it went very well, and the little bit of 2008 Dunn Forest Pinot noir that had an extra year in barrel.  We were scheduled to bottle the infamous port on Saturday but the bottler was giving us problems so that didn't get bottled till Monday of this week.  Mary had some friends in town who took on fixing the problem piece on the bottler.  Thank you Orv and Alan it worked great on Monday.  I must admit that I feel at loose ends with almost no wine to look after and that I'm not scrambling to get get ready for fruit to be picked.  Just the 7 barrels of 09 pinot I held over for another year of aging in barrel.  They look so lonely.
Muller Thurgau,      Pinot noir,      Marechal Foch
Yesterday Sebastian pulled our first samples of grapes for me to test.  And apparently my blogging brain was turned off because I didn't take any pictures.  I still had the juice sitting on the counter this morning so you can see the three grapes we sampled and the color difference though amongst the three.  The Muller and Pinot noir have oxidized in the jar over night so aren't as green or pink, respectively, as they were yesterday.  Isn't the colour on the Foch amazing!  I'll explain the process next week when we sample again but suffice to say the grapes are not ripe.  The Marechal Foch has at least 10-14 days and that will be the first fruit to come in.  I went looking at past numbers to see if I could give you and me both an estimate for how far behind we are and it turns out I have never sampled the Foch at as low a number as it is right now.  The closest year was 2007 and the fruit then was a degree of brix higher, about a weeks worth of ripening, on September 13th, versus October 6th.  And we didn't pick for another 19 days.  Deep Sigh!  I never should have gone and looked.  I should add checking past vintage numbers to the list of don'ts while suffering from WIBS.  I think I'll go join Phineas on the couch and hide my head under the blanket.  Let me know if the sun comes out.


  1. There was rumored to be a cure for WIBS; moving to California. However recent reports suggest that they too are susceptible to the disorder. The only effective treatment appears to be getting a desk job. I would rather have WIBS.

  2. You crack me up Liz. Love the Blog.
    Say Hi to Mary.

  3. Speaking of Dunn Forest, Renee and I just opened a 2006 Dunn Forest.
    Wonderful stuff! Keep it up Liz