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!

01 May 2012

Bottling and Grafting are Done!

Yes, it has been another 2 weeks since I wrote but we really were busy around here.  And to add to the mayhem the bottler didn't run like a perfect dream the whole time which I really needed it to because we were supposed to have 4 jam packed bottling days.  Instead we had 4 full days complete with plenty of stoppages, a few broken bottles and lots of brainstorming.  Then after grafting we had to take on one more day to finish the pinot gris and rosé. Throw in a little sunburn and a bad head cold and the hall bath that just won't finish and you have the last two weeks of my life.  And we are still working on those new labels, closer, closer . . . I must admit a little quiet time would be appreciated!

On a positive note we think we know what the problem with the bottler is and I spent this morning partially disassembling it to get to the part we want to get fixed.  Of course, along the way I had to fix and tighten everything else that I can now access.  Fingers crossed getting this one part straightened will solve all our problems.  You can stop laughing now and I only meant all our problems with the bottler.  Really, stop laughing.  Instead admire our beautiful rosé and dream about the beautiful summer weather coming perfect for enjoying it on the patio.

After bottling we all moved out to the vineyard and spent a whirlwind Monday and Tuesday last week grafting about two thirds of the the maréchal foch over to pinot blanc.  The advantage of grafting as opposed to replanting is that we will only lose one year of production.  The process was straightforward but multi stepped.  First we went through and cut off the upper part of the foch trunk, cleaned away all the brush and sawed a few cuts into the base of the trunk to bleed off the rising sap.  Then the grafting crew came through and did the delicate work of actually grafting two pinot blanc sticks onto a foch trunk and taping up the graft joints.  Next we went through again and hand painted every trunk, joint and fresh cut with grafting sealant, the black paint.  Just a note, there is no comfortable way of spending the day painting something two and half feet off the ground.  You either hunch over or get on your knees.  We did have beautiful weather to do it in, hence the sunburn, and it was neat to watch the process.

The crew has gone through and cut the trunks again to bleed the sap, apparently the rising sap can push the graft off the trunk and next we need to go through and repaint the sealant anywhere it may have cracked.  Keep your fingers crossed that every graft takes.  It won't happen but it doesn't hurt to wish.  I've included two videos of the grafting process, one is of the process on the trunk and the other of what happened to the pinot blanc stick.  The second video is short, the grafter is fast but what he is doing is shaving the stick, trimming the end and then adding a slice so the trunk and the stick slide together making several layers.

The bathroom is grouted and as of last night the toilet and sink are in, now to run some caulk, hang the mirror and cabinet and rehang the door and I think we will be done!  Yeah!