|Sunday, July 9, 2000
I saw the first berry changing color today. It was a zin berry!! This is my 22nd season of growing grapes at this vineyard and as I have stated earlier this year (except for the 114 degree day) this is the most normal growing season I can remember. Is normal good? Most of the time I have seen grapes turning color in the second week of July. Earlier this growing season I thought we were as much as two weeks ahead of schedule. Now with a spell of cooler than normal weather we are right on schedule to harvest Sauvignon Blanc in the first week in September ( we have harvested as early as August 18 ) and Zinfandel in the second week of September ( we have harvested as early as August 29 ).
The bottling has been variable. Thursday started off as well as can be expected. I knew if we finished the 974 cases of Zin it would be no earlier than 6:30. At 4:30 we had 129 cases to go when our vacuum pump quit. Steve insisted on trying to tweak it to work again. 15 min went by. He determined that the pump was gone and called the supplier who was 20 min away. The supplier said at 5 pm that they were on the way. Steve said we can wait!! I as a responsible wine maker said to myself we have to preserve the wine!!! I ordered at Brendan and Steve's resistance that the wine remaining in the tank be racked into barrels so we could preserve it for a new start on Friday. You see I refuse to leave wine in a tank to lose fruit overnight. They pleaded that we could finnish that night. It is great to be 57 years old and be the owner. I have complete control and took charge ( I pay the bills ). I sent Caterino and his three helpers home at 5 pm ( they had been standing around for 30 mins ). With enough experience to know the obvious delay, I left to take a shower and start preparing a great dinner for the three of us of lamb roast potatoes and Zinfandel. At 6pm the new pump was finally installed.
Brendan and Steve re-thought there strategy and suggested a change in our bottling schedule ( I think they are light weights ). I went along with their less demanding schedule of July 7, 845 cases of Zin (finished); July 8, 129 cases of Zin and 437 cases of Cab Franc ( we did complete ); July 10 tomorrow hopefully: 245 cases of Carignan and 440 cases of Petite Sirah. On Tuesday we hope to do 655 cases of Estate Cuvee and Wednesday finish off with our 255 cases of Aca Modot, 48 cases of Pinot, 55 cases of Block 4 and then rack and blend our ZP2C. Thursday I will head off toCostco!!
Saturday, July 15, 2000
The bottling is over!! It was tough. I was in a cloud. But it is nothing like harvest. Harvest season is much more demanding since it is so unpredictable. I came up with a case short in the Aca Modot (244, I had already sold more than I wanted), and two cases more (57) in the Block 4. Also we ended up with 50 cases of Pinot. Today we are having our open house and will pour all our 1999 wines. We have no idea how many people will stop by. Pat thinks no more than 100 (we usually have from 30 to 50 stop by on Saturday even though our sign says by appointment). I think there may be more since I have made up a neat sign saying OPEN HOUSE. Some of those people heading up to Ferrari Carano may stop by. I look forward to these days---Pat does not.
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