|Tuesday September 17, 2013
7:00 Am: Harvest is here!! Finally we are starting to pick our old vine zinfandel in the 3rd and 4th block. The sugar test yesterday came in well over 25 brix.
8:15 Am: Our first ton is at the winery and will be destemmed later. We are hoping to pick three tons today.
3:30 Pm: We are finished destemming 4 tons of old vine Zinfandel. About one ton was lower than we expected, about 23.5 brix and the other two tons came in at 24.5. To save time I decided to take some of the fruit in the area North of where we checked yesterday. I was hoping the sugar in the South section would be high enough to compensate for the lower sugar in the North. Tomorrow we will just pick the rest of the south section and leave the North section until next week. Catarino instructed the 4 other pickers to watch out for red bunches and leave the second crop. It is hard to slow down these fast pickers even though they are paid by the hour. Catarino says he left about a ton on the vines so we do have a big crop again. After picking the 1.5 tons of Zin tomorrow, we will pick a ton of Petite Sirah and see how we stand.
Wednesday September 18, 2013
8:00 Am: Matt and Salvador are here working on wine and Catarino and I have talked about the plans today. Like always we have to change plans when necessary. There may be a little rain on the weekend, but not enough to cause problems in the quality of the grape bunches BUT it may slow our picking down. The Petite Sirah may be ready but after yesterday's lower sugars than expected we want to pick a ton of Petite Sirah and destem the fruit and thus see what the numbers are. So we are picking one bin of the South Zin right now and then the pickers will go out to the Petite Sirah and pick two half ton bins. While we are here destemming the Petite Sirah, they will go back to the Zin 3rd block South section and pick the next bin. If the numbers are good with the Petite Sirah, I will send Martha, Jose, Norma, Rogelio and of course Catarino back to the Petite Sirah and harvest more fruit.
1:00 Pm: What Does It All Mean? For the first time in my 35 years of harvesting from this vineyard, Petite Sirah is ready before old vine Zinfandel. We did harvest one ton of Petite Sirah this morning and checked the sugar after destemming and I was very surprised to get a reading of 27.5 brix. So our great pickers are out harvesting more Petite Sirah and will finish tomorrow. We did harvest a ton of Zinfandel this morning and we are putting the rest on hold until next week. We feel the sugar is not what we want because of the mites sucking out the green in the leaves. Mites do not bother the Petite Sirah. We are doing sugar tests in Tannat and Lagrein as well as the Merlot and Barbera. We may start on some of that fruit tomorrow.
9:00 Pm: It is getting late but I may be up for another two hours. I do not like to sleep. it is a waste of time when I am not focusing. Today was a challenge as all Harvests are. Tomorrow will be a new challenge. I imply like this is a hard thing to do but actually it comes easy for me. I just have to make sure I am understanding what the possibilities are at hand. JUST I am sure most of you who read my diary are having similar experiences everyday and enjoying what we do.
WOW again!!...Harvest is un predictable. We have samples for Lagrein at 27+ sugar so we will harvest all in the next two days. The Petite Sirah harvested today was about 26. Tomorrow will be another adventure....
Friday September 20, 2013
The last day of summer. I am depressed because the days will be shorter now until December 22, one of my favorite days......then days will get longer here.
I love challenges.....that is why I like what I do. There has never been a normal Harvest.......this one is far from center.
9:00 Pm: Pat is out at a play tonight so I have time.......
We finished Petite Sirah yesterday and picked Lagrein today along with part of Barbera. We still have old vine zin waiting because of the mites. There are no mites in our Block 4 so I asked Catarino to bring in a sample of all the varieties that are ripe after zinfandel in Block 4.............That is an adventure. Block 4 has:
Valdiguie, Syrah, Peloursin, Carignan, Gamay, a few vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and mostly Zinfandel and Petite Sirah or then called Durif
Catarino came in with no zinfandel but still 26 brix and so I sent Catarino out again to check unripe zin if he could find the bunches. He came back complaining because it took him so long to find less ripe bunches, meaning red berries. This less ripe zin came in at 26.1........wow we are ready to pick Block 4 before all the old vine zin is in? Every year has been an adventure.....
The Lagrein harvested today was over 26 sugar, great since we are looking for 25 or 26 for most fruit coming in. I am very happy with the quality coming in but I always reserve judgement after tasting the barrels.
We have Block 4 ready and probably Block One which we will keep separate and blend with Block 4 as usual. Last year we offered a separate bottling of Block One. I am happy with the results and it does have more tartness because of more old vine zin vines. BUT we need to make less wines.....
We have been making more wines every year and I need to hit myself in the head more often. We have no room to produce 10 month and 16 month wines of every version like we did in 2012 and now again committed to 2013 pre harvest Futures. Our storage area in 6 buildings besides the main winery has no room to continue making more types. Next year reluctantly we will only offer 10 month versions of all our wines and we will be producing Dave's Cuvee and Matt's Select exclusively for our wine club. Of course We may produce 16 month versions later in the year. I love young wines and I still do not see by tasting blind......a preference in 10 month vs 16 months....some times over 5 days I taste 10 month vs 16 months and some days I think I like the 16 month wines and then the next day I like the 10 month. My problem is I usually like all my wines.
I did not get much sleep last night.....woke up at 2:25 so I am ready to read or look at something to escape and keep awake. I do not want to fall asleep. I hate sleeping because that is the ultimate escape........before death
Tomorrow is another day
Saturday September 21, 2013
8:00 Am: Catarino and the other great pickers were here at 7am. It has rained a little in the last 12 hours, only about a tenth of an inch. It should be clear later today. Catarino and I just talked and decided to start picking Block 4 Monday. Block 4 has mostly zinfandel vines. Tomorrow the workers will take some leaves away so the fruit is easier to see. This little bit of rain will wash off the leaves and help ripen the Zinfandel. If the rain is more than a half an inch total, we could see some rot in the Zinfandel so we are planning to pick most of the old vines this coming week no matter what happens. That will include Block One.
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