14 October 2011

Harvest 2011 is coming!

As I sit here watching the setting sun duck under the clouds and set our elm tree alight and contemplating what to write this week I realize that while I sometimes consider sitting down to write a chore, okay writing is always a chore for me, I do enjoy the perspective that this blog has given me on what I do and how much I love it.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading it and maybe even have a little better feel as to what goes into making that bottle of wine you are having tonight.  Of course, if it isn't my wine then you may have to guess a little but the basic premise is the same and many of the same choices will have been discussed even if the decision is different in the end.  I find too that sitting down to write sometimes I'm not sure I want to discuss all the nitty gritty details.  Maybe I'm taking too much away from the romance of wine or at least making you realize that it's not the 'natural' product you thought it was, whatever 'natural' means.  In the end though what I really hope for is that you learned a little about something I love, enjoyed some good pictures and will cherish that next glass of wine a little bit more knowing the love, thought and care that someone put in to creating it.
Enough philosophy and back to blogging.  I did take my cluster pictures last week but feeling as though I had nothing to write about but complaining about the weather and the birds I decided not to post.  So you get two weeks worth of pictures again and you can see the effect of some of what I would have complained about when you compare the two.  If you look at the Foch grapes there is a darker area in the middle of the cluster in this week's picture.  That is were the waxy protective layer I think has started to break down.  If you look closer and between the grapes you can see the very beginning of botrytis rot setting in.  Looking again at both pictures I realize the dark patch was already there in the previous week but the mold hadn't started growing yet.  I think the fact that the cluster was already weak in that spot allowed the botrytis to start growing more easily when the rain came.   I'm a little on the fence about keeping this cluster because if it weren't our picture cluster I would cut it off to avoid contaminating the surrounding grapes.  Sebastian did apply a botrytis spray yesterday to the whole vineyard and hopefully that will be able to kill the spores and I will feel better about keeping the cluster until picking, which is maybe 1.5 - 2 weeks away. 
On the chardonnay cluster if you near the top there is a missing grape in this week's picture. Ackk! Make that two grapes!  You can thank some bird for that!  Usually they eat a quite a few grapes from a cluster so either this one wasn't ripe enough so it flew off or it was disturbed before it could really tuck in.  Either way I was bummed to see it missing today.   So those would be our two biggest pests now. 

  The disease pressure came about because of the weather. A little rain, a little humidity and a little warmth and you have some happy spores.  If you look at the last grape picture you can see another problem the rain brings.  When there is a lot of rain the grapes swell as they soak up the water and if the grapes are ripe or close to ripe the excess water can split the skin of the berry providing a food source for mold like you can see here.  The problem with the mold growing on the outside like this is that it can penetrate the grape, enter the stem and then spread throughout a previously healthy cluster.  Fortunately we have very little botrytis at this time and the dry weather on the way combined with the spray applied yesterday will help keep it under control.  So while I am not overly concerned we will certainly be vigilant in the coming weeks.

Back in the winery, two of our favorite volunteers Jake and Lynn arrived just in time to help me get the 2010 ans 2009 pinot noir out of barrel as well as the 2010 Marechal Foch.  They did an excellent job too and the wines are in tank and ready for bottling next week.  I got to go along behind  and clean barrels this year and it was a fun change, less concentration and more muscles.  We have also started sampling the grapes to get a base line for ripeness.  I love all the colors the juice ends up.  Tomorrow we are headed out to a few other vineyards to see how they are progressing.  We may have fruit before we know it!

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