27 May 2011

Memorial Weekend is here!

I had a good week I must admit.  We bottled on Wednesday and it went very well.  Maybe one of the best days ever.  I am sure it helped that it was a relatively light day as far as cases bottled but the fact that nothing went wrong was great.  For some reason that seems to be the rarity rather than the normal.  Due in part probably to the fact that we only bottle twice a year and what worked or didn't work for the previous vintage may not hold true for the current one but regardless this time things went well.  Neither filter plugged, we didn't break anything on the bottler, the glass was dust free and the corks went in cleanly.  I even had an intern helping out which meant I didn't have to be on the line the whole day.  Another plus for me.  And in case you were wondering we bottled Pinot gris and the Riesling.  As I mentioned before we decided to hold off on the Gew├╝rztraminer and the sparkling wine will be a entire day by itself.  As far as when for the sparkling wine I am hoping to bottle it in the next two weeks.  Next week I am going to open the sample bottles and finger crossed they have fermented to dry, so I will be able to decide how much sugar to add for the ideal amount of bubbles/pressure in the finished wine.  Then I'll set up for that.  I think I will have to borrow a filler as the bottles will not fit on our machine but more on that when it happens.

As for the rest of the week I attended an interesting lecture in McMinnville on some new products and if any one has $32K laying around there is this beautiful piece of lab equipment that would make my life sooooo easy.  The salesman was trying to justify the price to us and how quickly it would pay for itself.  I tried not to laugh out loud.  I don't think anyone in the room thought they could justify the money in two years like he was trying to show.  But it was cool anyway and it would allow me to run some tests that I don't run or have to send out for but that's okay I probably could use a second press more.  We also got set up for the Memorial Day Weekend Festivities.  The winery and grounds are cleaned up and ready for your arrival.  We have some great bands coming in and hopefully the weather will cooperate.  The schedule is on our website www.airliewinery.com.   I should be out there Sunday afternoon so if you see me feel free to come up and tell me how much you enjoy my blog! ;-)  Otherwise have a great weekend and I'll write again next week.

PS I've been meaning to ask.  Does anyone have any experience pruning climbing roses?  This one has been in the ground just over a year and I'm not sure how much I should shape it or where the best place to prune it might be.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

18 May 2011

Wonderful weather and work in the winery.

I know it sounds like an excuse but I didn't write last week because the blogger site was down when I was ready but both of us are back now.  I don't actually have to much to report so enjoy the pictures.  Last week I racked the Gew├╝rztraminer to stainless steel drums.  We decided that it wasn't ready to bottle on its own and maybe more time will help or maybe some of it will help the 2011 Seven blend.  Not sure what will happen but since at the moment it seems weak we decided to wait on it.  We did finish tweaking the Pinot gris and Riesling and will be bottling them next week.  I can't wait.  Tomorrow's program is to finish the lab work on the wines checking sugar, pH, and TA (titratable acidity).  Also I will recheck SO2 levels and CO2 levels though with bottling so late in the spring I don't think that will be a factor.  If there is too much CO2 in the wine then it foams up during bottling and makes bottling harder and creates under filled bottles so I like to be forewarned.
This week the guys started cleaning the barrels for me that are sitting empty for the year.  Guadalupe and Rosario have to move each barrel outside, empty out the old solution, rinse the barrel and then refill it with the new solution.  We don't fill the barrels full, that would be a wasteful amount of water but just put in four gallons mixed with SO2 and tartaric acid.  The SO2 is more effective in an acidic environment and the small amount of water keeps the chemicals in solution as well as helping to keep the barrels hydrated so they don't dry out and leak this fall when I will fill them wine because this summer is going to be one of the nicest on record!

I had to get out in the sun today, the start of that aforementioned summer, and so took a nice walk in the vineyard.  Some of the vines are starting to show their leaves, especially the young ones, and the chardonnay vines near the concrete driveway.  The reflected heat and light make a big difference.  Of course the dogs came with me, they had to break in their new summer cuts they received yesterday.  Besides, what self respecting farm dog wants to smell like floral shampoo?!

My brother came to visit this weekend and while we didn't get a lot of sun there wasn't any rain so we took the canoe out on the Willamette.  It's only about 2 or 3 feet longer than his 1972 BMW 2002 and besides he has a roof rack.  And, even better, he let me drive.  What fun!  He's planning to drive it from Seattle to Connecticut this summer and wanted to take it on a test spin so I lucked out by getting to see him.  For the curious, it's a cedar stripper canoe that our parents built about 15 years ago.

05 May 2011

I saw the sun!

The sun came out this week.  It really did.  There was a fiery yellow ball in the sky that hurt my eyes!  Did you see it too?  Okay maybe I'm being overly enthusiastic but we did have one glorious day and one pretty nice day.  And that was enough to push the buds out, make the madrona tree bloom and bring out the honey bees in force.  Now to make sure we don't get a frost though I don't think we are in much danger of that.  The nights seem to be staying in the 40's.  Today however is cold and gray again.  Ugh.  I want my sunshine back.  I am installing a screen door on the back door of our house and I want to be able to use it by golly!  In fact finishing it up is tomorrow's project.  It is one of the roll up kind and I'm curious to see what the cats do.  More torture devices for them!  Ha ha ha! (evil laugh)
We tasted the white wines again today, more tweaking, and that went well.  I'll taste them again tonight with dinner and make sure I still like the same wines and that my husband agrees with our choices.  He is my secret weapon!  At this point though I am pretty happy with the final wines and hopefully we will bottle next week or the week after.  Finally!  For such a small amount of wine it has taken us longer than normal to get ready.  We also tasted the Marechal Foch today.  We wouldn't normally taste that wine this early but I have been playing around with some blending ideas and wanted to get some feedback from Mary and Barry.  It was a good tasting, very enlightening and we are no closer to making a decision.  That's okay, I have a few more months.
Here's to hoping the sun will come out this weekend so I can get some weeding done and remember to call your mother on Sunday and tell her what a great job she did.  And yes we finished the floors, I did this room in about 5 hours from start to finish.  Now for the trim.