21 April 2011

The sun is shinning and I've been busy

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First I want to say thank you to everyone who responded, it made my decision on what to do much easier and briefly the blog will stay here and you can click on the pictures if you like.  I have also added the blog to our Facebook page if that is easier for you, it will show up on Airlie's Facebook Page and an excerpt will be on the Airlie Winery website that will lead you here.  Be sure to check out our new website and thank you again.  Now back to what else I have been doing.  The last few days have been beautiful.  I love the longer days and I even find getting up in the morning easier.  The downside to these clear days is the cold nights but so far no hard frost and the buds are just barely showing so they should be safe for a little while longer.  Our trusty Chard vine is ready to go and you can see the buds swelling on the closeup.

I am sorry I didn't write last week but I was actually quite busy.  I attended a very good seminar on sulfide production in wine up in Portland on the same day that the wine was loaded onto the container for Japan.  I left my camera with Mary so you get to see how full the container was in the end.

Madrona Tree
On Friday Mary and I attended the annual LIVE meeting.  The meeting is a great chance to catch up with peers, learn about various problems or new processes and enjoy a nice lunch.  This year the meeting was held at the NW Viticulture Center in Salem, what a great venue and very apt for a group of grape growers to get together and share information.  The only comment I have to add is that I am ashamed more of my fellow winemakers were not in attendance.  I'll have to get on them next year.  For those of you unfamiliar with LIVE it stands for Low Input Viticulture and Enology and is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing vineyards and wineries with both education and certification of sustainable practices.  The vineyard and the winery are certified separately and in our case only the vineyard is certified though we wouldn't have any problem passing the winery.  If you would like to read more about LIVE, click here.
So this week on Monday Mary and I received a Facebook lesson, ergo all the recent activity if you are a Facebook follower, be sure to like us if you are not!  This morning I linked this blog to the account so as I said you can also catch up with me there.  Have to try and keep up with the social media stuff you know.  So the reason the blog will not be moving is that I found the new web design program too frustrating to work with so while I will post an excerpt at www.airliewinery.com the main article will still be here.  I know you are relieved Wade, remember to keep clicking on the pictures!

Moving on.  Tuesday I drove down to Sweet Cheeks Winery which is just southwest of Eugene.  What a beautiful day for a drive and a lovely winery.  I'll just tantalize you with a shot of the gate.  I went down to pick Mark Nicholl's brain, he is the winemaker there, about how to make sparkling wine and I'm glad I did.  Not only did he have some great ideas but he has gotten me motivated to work on it.  I think I was feeling a bit intimidated and overwhelmed.  Mark pointed out a few experiments which would be easy since I am using encapsulated yeast.  Encapsulated yeast is what it sounds like, instead of being loose the yeast is trapped in 2mm alginate beads which allow the wine to flow through but not the yeast particlaes.  This type of yeast takes out both the growing up the yeast culture step, the beads are a direct innoculum, and the riddling step, where all the yeast is worked down into the neck of the bottle prior to disgorging.  So yesterday I put a few bottles in the freezer/fridge to cold stabilize them and next week I'll make up a few bottles of bubbles varying the amount of yeast and sugar in order to see how much of each I need to create the perfect amount of fizz.  More details to follow.  (After I figure them out myself!)
So this brings me to today.  We were able to obtain the necessary glass for bottling so that should show up any day now and then I can get the other white wines out of tank in to bottle.  I always feel much better when bottling is over.  So I need to run lab work on all the whites, make sure I am happy that they are the best they can be and maybe next week get them in bottle.  Provided of course the glass shows up.

And in case you thought I hadn't been quite busy enough to get out of writing we have been painting at home, the office got painted three more times and is on the docket for tonight.  Please let this be the right color!  The front room got painted three times and that is now the right color.  We went from nursery yellow, very cheerful but didn't suit the house to Dijon mustard jar yellow, the walls were closing in - let me out! - to a very subtle gray green that is going to make my mother's artwork pop on the walls, after we get the rest of the flooring in.  Yes we finally started laying the kitchen floor over the weekend and it looks great!  Last night we put in another three hours, no updated picture but we are past the fridge and to the pantry door and now need to rip up carpet.  So you know what I'll be doing this weekend, ripping up carpet and laying more floor.  Feel free to stop by and provide entertainment, Advil or alcohol depending on your temperament.  We'll be home!

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