|Sunday, August 13, 2000
The high yesterday was 98 and the low this morning was 45 degrees. This is perfect ripening weather (extremes). But of course that means right after harvesting our Sauv Blanc about the 25th we could be harvesting Zinfandel in the first few days of September. Normally we would harvest our zin in the second week of September so I am guessing we will probably more logically pick grapes around the 7th or 8th. Remember though there is little logic in the harvesting of fruit. As the saying goes "wine grapes wait for no one". The sugar content can go from 23% to 25% in two days. I don't head off for Costco during the first part of September, but I will this week.
I can't remember mentioning on my diary that we are remodeling our living room into a full blown media room or home theater. Pat has let me loose!! She does not like to spend money!! I DOOOOO!! She wants to control me regarding our new storage and guest house we are building over the next 6 to 9 months. The deal is that I can do what I want in the home theater and she can do what she wants in the guest house. That means I get what I want and you guests who would like to stay the night will not have a great home theater to see movies (the county requires that we can not charge for your stay so don't hesitate to ask next year). In this media room, I am installing 7 Martin Logan speakers and an 18 inch Velodyne subwoofer. We will have 8 seats and the new Sony LCD (BRIGHT) projector and an 8 ft wide screen all in a 17.5 X 27.5 foot room. The walls are being painted a dark blue and the carpet is Burgundy. I like to sit close so my head will be 11 ft back of the screen and we will have an 8 inch step up so that viewers in the back will be able to see over my Lazyboy recliner. The carpet goes in Thursday after 2 weeks of intensive remodeling and the screen and speakers are arriving just before harvest. This room will be more intense than our great setup in the winery. OF COURSE!!, now I will have to upgrade the winery to the best that Vandersteen can offer these days. I love spending money!!!
Tuesday, August 15, 2000 (High 102, Low 47)
It has still been warm. 102 yesterday and 47 low. This concern's me because we may have to harvest zin by the end of the month. In my 21 years there were actually two times that zin was ready by August 31. I guess this will not be the case this year. I will send Brendan out tomorrow to test the sugar in the zin and S.B.
Tursday, August 17, 2000 (High 106, Low 67)
We have gotten higher!! Yes The temperature did go even higher. Brendan, Steve, and I, are concerned but are gearing up for eminent harvest. Brendan's tests on our Sauv blanc grapes revealed higher sugars than we hoped for about 22 % sugar. Yes this is the sugar we would like to harvest at. I even sent Brendan out for a more specific tests and found out that our bottom section of S.B. ( which is usually behind) was also showing 22 %. We have enough indication that we should increase our production (we have already sold what we wanted to sell for our 2000 vintage). If we increase our production, we will have to harvest two different times. We have only one fermenter that will hold the fermentation at 50 degrees. We want to ferment Sauv blanc at these low temperatures. That creates a dilemma. Do we cut off our sales of S.B. or do we change our strategy. We have heard that the trend for years has been barrel fermenting chardonnay and even sauv blanc. That would mean fermenting at close to 60 degrees. Brendan and I would rather ferment at 50 degrees, but this will give us more opportunity to experiment and you know we relish that.
Friday, August 18, 2000 (High 98, Low 58)
We will harvest 3 tons (as much as 800 lbs of chardonnay and the balance to be sauv blanc) Saturday (tomorrow) which after pressing into juice will just fit into our chiller. We will chill the juice down to 50 degrees and then transfer into about 10 barrels. We plan on experimenting with several slow to moderately vigorous yeasts to see which ones create the most interesting wine. The less active yeasts that we pick will hopefully control the fermentations to under 65 degrees max. Since the juice will be 50 degrees when put in the barrels most of the fermentations should be under 60 degrees. Our winery is kept at 68 degrees, but our red fermentations do reach up to 90+. The bigger mass of skins and weight (1800 lbs) of course contribute to the vast increase of temperature.
Depending on the acid and sugar contact of our first harvest, we will
decide when to harvest our second lot. This 3 tons will be also put in
our chiller and kept at 50 degrees until the finnish of fermentation. The
yeast used this time will be Prise De Mousse (PDM) which is a very vigorous
and is also used for all our red wines.
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