29 September 2011

They might get ripe yet!

I was out walking in the vineyard this morning to get our pictures and was testing the grapes just to get a feel for where we might be ripeness wise and the Foch is looking promising.  A few more weeks of this great weather and we should be there.  I tried to take a picture of what I'm looking at through the refractometer but it wasn't really successful.  I found an illustration on the internet so you can see a little better what I am looking at.  There should be a clear color change from white to blue which tells you the degrees of Brix in what you are measuring.  A Brix measurement is only accurate with sucrose in water but the instrument is pretty accurate when measuring juice.  Ideally we would like wine grapes to be between 22° and 24° Brix at harvest and this particular grape squashed out at about 18°.  I started wondering about other fruits for comparison and did a little reasearch.  I got this chart courtesy of Natural Check and found it quite interesting to look through.  You can click on the chart and get a larger version or go to the original at Natural Check, link above.

I did get our cluster pics too and here they are.  I guess I don't have to tell you which one is Foch anymore!
Not much else to report.  We decided on the 2010 Willamette Pinot last week and this week we have been working on the 2009 reserve pinots.  Those are easier and we are closer to a decision.  One more taste next week and I can start pulling things out of barrel.

23 September 2011

Long time no write!

I know I was on vacation but only for a week but somehow I missed two weeks of writing.  I think I was still in vacation mode when I got home.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the weather.  The weather sounds like it was pretty good while I was away then it cooled off a little when I got back and now is warming back up and predictions are good for the next week.  Sunny and warm.  The grapes are starting to turn color in earnest now and the good weather will help hurry them along I hope.  You'll get to see three weeks of pics which should really allow you to see the changes.  The chardonnay is difficult because the slight color shift is hard to see.  A lot of what we are checking is that the berries are starting to soften.  They will continue to get more yellow but with the changing light conditions it is hard to capture that on film.  (Or should I say on megapixels?)

In the winery we finally decided on our blend for the 2010 Willamette Valley pinot noir, complete with tweaking.  Can you believe this little bit of stuff effects the flavor, or more accurately the body of 900 gallons of wine, enough at least to have us choosing the blend with the additions.  I am adding a little bit of tannin, the brown powder, and a product called Biolees, the white powder.  Both help with mouthfeel, providing structure which balances the acid and emphasizing the fruit character.

This morning I drove up to Anne Amie to help sort some fruit from California for fermentation.  Thomas, the winemaker there, is exchanging fruit with two other wineries to learn about the influence of the winemaker versus the vineyard.  All three winemakers make wine from all three vineyards and then taste the nine wines and attempt to determine which has more influence the winemaker or the vineyard.  It is a fascinating trial to taste and discuss.  So this was the first of that fruit.  Next week the second lot will come in and in about 4 weeks Thomas will send his fruit to the two other winemakers.

Riley and his rawhide cigar

02 September 2011

Almost a repeat of last week!

I was reading what I wrote last week and this week was so similar I almost could have re-posted!  The weather wasn't quite as perfect for growing but it was nice and is supposed to warm up again this weekend.  The nights have started cooling off more and that combined with the lowering sun has started to put me in the mind of fall instead of summer.  Our clusters are just finishing going through lag phase and the seeds have hardened nicely.  Now I just want to start seeing some color change and a little berry softening!  There is a little color in the Foch block, though none on our cluster yet.
As for our pinot trials we did taste through them last week and while all the differing opinions made making a decision a little more difficult then I might have hoped.  I always wish for the day when everyone at the table has the same opinion, but then again what fun would that be?!  So taking the results from the Friday tasting I narrowed done the choices and tried creating the blends again at lower levels of additions.  Mary, Barry and I tasted the wines yesterday and decided I might be a little closer but needed to go lower still.  I brought the wines home and my husband confirmed so back to it again next week!  I made up a new set of blends to sit over the weekend and we will taste the wines on Tuesday.  Fingers crossed I'll be there or almost there.  I would like to go on vacation knowing this part of the process has been resolved.   Sorry no engaging pictures, I forgot to take my camera in with me to both tastings!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend keep the Bounty of Benton County in mind.  It is a great opportunity to support local rural families and to enjoy much that Benton County has to offer.  Plus a little of Polk County too!  We are on the tour and will be offering Fairview Farm's cheeses alongside our wines.  So stop by, buy a passport and go on a little road trip.  For more information, click here.

Yesterday while taking our cluster pictures I did snap this of the crocosmia blooming in front of the tasting room. The colors really are wonderful right now.