01 August 2012

Just taking care of business

In general the winery has been quiet the last two weeks.  Mostly just getting caught up on little jobs and getting ready to leave for Ohio next week to do sales.   Three of the eight barrels of chardonnay are finally going through ML so today I did a little wine swapping, moving wine between barrels and hopefully putting enough bacteria in the inactive barrels to get them all going.

Tasted through all the pinot barrels, checked free SO2 levels and topped everything so they are buttoned up for me to be gone.  The wine really is pretty nice fruit mostly black berry, some black pepper notes and great structure.  With a little time in the bottle this should be a gem.  And there won't be much of it, only about 550 cases.

Barry stopped by and motivated me into some labeling and capsuling.  Now we can clean up the winery and get it ready for winemaking rather than using it for fancy case goods storage.

The vineyard is looking healthy and the crew is still working through and doing leaf pulling, opening up and exposing the fruit to sunshine and air movement.  The Foch, pictured first, is just entering berry touch and this will be one of the last time a spray can penetrate to the center of the cluster.  The second picture is of Chardonnay which is about two weeks behind.  The berries aren't as big nor are they touching yet.  A little heat and sunshine will change that.

18 July 2012

I'll admit it, I'm just being

. . . lazy.  Yep, there is no other explanation for my lack of writing.  Yes, I was on vacation at the beginning of July, my husband and I went to China for 10 days, amazing trip.  But that does explain the end of June or why it's taken me two weeks to get in writing mode again since being home.  Did I mention I'm lazy?

While I have been lazy, the vineyard has been progressing nicely and the crew, as always, is doing an excellent job making it look beautiful and keeping it healthy.  Bloom started at the beginning of July, ahead of the last two years but still behind 2008 when we had bloom in mid June.  The weather was reportedly good during bloom, I was gone for most of it, and we have a good fruit set.  Some late blooming clusters, from that frost we had in May, will probably have to dropped because they will ripen to late but otherwise the fruit is starting off well.  Now if we could just get our 80F, sunny days back.  It's currently 62F and cloudy.  Ugh.

The crew has started opening up the fruiting zone, exposing the clusters to more sunshine and to more air movement to minimize disease.  Here in the Marechal Foch you can see the before and after effect.

In other happenings I'm still waiting on the Chardonnay to go through ML.  I still haven't sent the wine to a lab to tell me if something is going on (being lazy?) but I'm hopeful that it is going through as the barrel room warms up a little.  The paper chromotography and slight bubbling are trying to convince me.  Mary is in Denver selling wine but she will be back in time for Cassio's concert on Saturday.   If you are free, I highly recommend you make it out for this special concert.  More info on our website.  

I'm putting in some pictures from our trip.  We started in Hong Kong, then went to Suzhou, Ningbo, Ninghai, and lastly Bejing.  We had the most time in Beijing, 4 days, and could have used even more.  I'd like to go back to Suzhou and spend more time there.  I was most struck by how the art, sculpture especially, is everywhere and how loud the people are.  I think of Americans as being loud and certainly compared to Europeans and Eastern Europeans/Slavs we are but the Chinese have us beat hands down.  At least on their own territory.  I loved the mixture of architecture, traditional sweeping roofs next to modern cubes of steel and glass.  The gardens were beautiful and laid out with care making them fun to walk through because you are never sure what's around the next corner.  I also enjoyed all the sun parasols, some of which are works of art with lace, sequins and beads.  White skin is highly prized and both men and women try to protect themselves.  Food was excellent and people were friendly.  All in all a good trip.

14 June 2012


I've been waiting for inspiration to strike so I really have something to talk about.  To encourage that process I've been out taking pictures.  I still don't have anything I want to write about but I do have some great pictures so enjoy the show.

There have been several great walks in the vineyard.  I love watching all the new growth right now.  The young vines are starting to look like real plants and buds are popping out every where and getting ready to burst into bloom, well ahead of last year.  Let's hope we keep on this trend.

I caught three hatchings of garden spiders.  This one I actually had my camera near by to snap a few pictures.  The weather cooled off right after they hatched and it took about three days for them to all move off the loveseat.  Can you believe how many there are!? (Click on the picture for a larger image.)

It appears all of our grafts are taking.  I haven't found any with no growth.  I caught this one the other day, it's just over the moon, there are even two future pinot blanc clusters at the top of the shoot.  And in the right hand picture you can see the Marechal Foch trying to put out it's own leaves.  Those were promptly removed after snapping this picture.

Sebastian has been out spraying and mowing the vineyard while Rosario and Guadalupe have been suckering the vines, see below, and are about to start cleaning the heads.  You can also see some of the lingering frost damage where a second or third bud has not pushed out yet in the fourth picture.

We had our Memorial Weekend Celebration and released four new wines all sporting the new label design and two with wax dipped tops! I got to spend the day with the printers watching our new labels being run.  I love seeing a project come together as well as watch someone very good at his job turn out a beautiful product.

On the wine making side I attended a conference on pinot gris and have several new ideas floating around in my head for next year.  I also have been tasting through the barrels every two weeks and am happy with what I have, this picture was taken one of the times I took the wines home.  The wines smell different and my focus differs depending on where I am tasting.  I don't know yet if we will make a reserve wine this year but that's due to quantity not quality.  We only have 23 barrels of pinot noir and I think we will need that for the Willamette Valley Pinot noir but we shall see as the wine progresses.

On the home front I finished a stitching project that I plan to give to a friend after it comes back from the framers and my cats tried to build either a fort or a bunk bed I could quite decide but either way they were quite comfortable.  And while Ferb is pretending to look squished he sat there for a quite a while longer after I took the picture.  I think he was enjoying the warmth personally.

17 May 2012

Not Entirely Unscathed.

Unfortunately we didn't make it through last week's frost entirely unscathed and while walking the vineyard I can certainly see where the fans and burn pile didn't quite reach.  It's interesting to note how more often than not it's the buds on the top of the cane which got burned while the underside ones are okay.

Ah well, though it puts me in mind of that well known quote "This was supposed to be 'The summer of George'! The summer of George."  Fingers crossed that the rest of our growing season is perfect and I'll still be happy come fall.  Though they are predicting low temperatures again tonight and Friday night.  Hopefully it will stay well above freezing.

On a more upbeat note I am off to Rose City Label tomorrow to be on the press run for our new labels.  Get your smart phones ready!

Look at this great shot from this morning.  The Foch is on the right, shoots are already 4-8" long and the empty trellises on the left are the new pinot blanc grafts and a few of them are starting to push buds.  We are going to have pinot blanc (imagine me wiggling in my seat).

10 May 2012

Frost in May!

Hard to believe but Mary got up at 2am this morning the fire up the fans and light the burn piles to protect our vines.  It got down to 32F last night and is predicted to be similar tonight.  The joys of being the owner and living on the property!   After driving around this morning she seems to have protected everything, no crispy leaves.  Now to do it again tonight!  So if you come out tomorrow, be gentle, she is going to be very short on sleep!

As for me I just had to drive to Bend yesterday, a beautiful drive and pour wine for a few hours before driving home again.  The tasting was at the Broken Top Country Club and though you can't tell from the picture we had a gorgeous view of the lake and the mountains beyond.  Snow capped mountains in fact hard to believe it was almost 70F in the valley and I was still supposed to be carrying chains going through the pass.

Otherwise things are quiet in the winery.  Checking SO2's on the pinot today and still trying to encourage the Chardonnay to go through ML.  I decided to reinoculate but so far have not seen an effect.  The parameters of pH and temperature are within limits so I'm not sure what the problem is.  If it doesn't start going soon with the barrel room warming up I'll have to send a sample to lab and see if there is a competitor inhibiting my ML bacteria.

On the home front the bathroom is done!  Yeah!  I just have to nail up a little bit of trim that I was repainting.  I'm very happy with how it came out and it is so nice to have it done.  Now to gear ourselves up for the master bath.  Ugh!