05 August 2011

The grapes are growing. Yeah!

Being away for a week certainly allowed me to see the change in the vineyard and the vines are coming along nicely.  All the beautiful weather is perfect for them and I'm even happy with the cool nights.  And look our cool weed from two weeks ago is blooming.  Very strange.  Mary took pictures for us as promised and so I get to show two weeks of growth.  The first set of pictures is from Mary and the second set from me, today.  As per usual, Foch is on the left.
We are just entering the phase of growth called 'bunch closure' and it's just what it sounds like.  The grapes are starting to touch and close up the bunch.  This is our last chance to get a spray to actually penetrate the cluster to the stem, it is important to get mildewcide to the center of the cluster to combat powder mildew later in the season.

I spent last week working and playing in Southern Oregon and had a great time.  There is an annual 3 day conference for winemakers at the Steamboat Inn on the South Umpqua just outside of Roseberg.  If you enjoy the outdoors, fly fishing, good food and wine, and relaxing or any of the above I highly recommend the inn.  There are a variety of cabins, cottages and houses and in the spring they do winemaker dinners with guest chefs, yum!  So back to the conference: about 60 or 70 of us come together with our wines in tow, problems and all, to taste, talk, share and help.  Of course there is great food and even more wine involved too so what is not to like.  The format is that we spend the mornings tasting each other's wine blind and then as the wines are revealed the respective winemaker gets up and talks about what he did and what he needs help on.  Then the afternoons are spent relaxing, talking and enjoying the area.  This year was a little cool for swimming but perfect for croquet.  As per usual for me I didn't recognize my wine, some people are great at that, and it didn't show the problem I had brought it for.  I'm sure if it had I would have picked it out . . . maybe.  I did get plenty of advice and opinions and am looking forward to spending the next month and a half before we bottle experimenting.

My husband joined me on Wednesday and we spent the rest of the week relaxing and enjoying the area.  We had a lovely if short hike up to the Twin Lakes where we found out Chad is much preferred by the mosquitoes over me, another disadvantage to the cooler weather.  On the up side though the wild flowers were beautiful.  We drove home via the coast and watched the temperature drop 25 degrees as we went over the coastal range.  Nothing like a few hills combined with the ocean to impact the weather.

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