|Sunday August 30, 2015
So the Zinfandel in Blocks 3 and 4 are the most important in making the Zin based blends and the grapes in the field blend North in Block 4 is where there is the most complexity. I had some wine last night and 2013 Block 4 is a great wine so I have to hand it to Matt, but he is no longer here. So I will try to do as good, 2013, 2014 Block 4 will be hard to top.
I am alone, finally...........I like being alone for a few days, but it is nice to have someone here in the night after a few days. So at night I can do what I want, but where is the challenge in that? I have no one to question me...............Long story
Friday Brad and Dri were here for the evening pizza cook off. We had so much fun. We were all saying this is the best pizza we have made together.............
Yesterday, we were scheduled to pick at 6:45 am, but after staying up until 11pm+ with Brad and Dri and also watching the Giants game.......I was out looking for Catarino at 7:15 am. It was sprinkling, thus the vines had water on them. Catarino, I was hoping had not started picking our precious Block 4 Zinfandel section South of the Field Blend area. Catarino and I have a sense, he had not started picking...........
So Catarino and I agreed Monday will be fine. We have the water off to intense the fruit, it is a balance, re: watering.............put water in your mouth and taste wine after it, you will not get much intensity because the water washes out your mouth........I digress
So Pat, Kate and Susie are up in Seattle for a few days so I can think about the next move on the stock Market and especially our vineyard. We have decided Block 4 South where it is all Zinfandel will be Monday and then Petite Sirah and more Lagrein? Or do we start on Block 4 North, the field blend........It is a puzzle and I will figure it out, but everyday is different. We had .03 inches of rain, but it delayed Harvest. It is a good thing because it gives us a break to decide but it also helps the harvesters, even though they want to work every day, sometimes we all need a break...........
OK, I may talk more about this later but yesterday we spent 3 hours dealing with a mistake I made. We store wine in a very high building. I can get 180 cases in a space of 48 inches and 20 feet high. So we are talking a wood pallet 48 inches, like 4 ft by 4 ft. And then we put another stack about 60 cases on top of this only 4x4, then two more 60 case pallets on top of that. I had to move some pallets that were leaning a little. The problem is I put one pallet too close to the other SSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOO. There was a crash yesterday morning about 10 am. About 100 cases toppled on top of my electric forklift........Good thing I was on that forklift because it is new and has many safety features which are annoying, like a beep, beep beep, when you back up.......I digress
This new electric forklift has a large cage on top of it to protect me, obviously I am not the first person to have a crash like this. The cage is for this sort of thing. So 3500 pounds tumbled on top of the forklift. It happened so fast but I did maybe move my finger up to stop it? So I have a finger that hurts a little, I am alive. We only lost 2 cases........
Monday August 31, 2015
8:00 Pm: So I have a fly after me right now. I think it is the same fly that was in here about 3 pm. I had two nice ladies here today. I am hopeful they will be my new help as accountants. I need help of course with the winery orders, Pat does all that so maybe I can get someone else to help out? Pat and I want to keep in control so there is no succession planed. Sure I would like to have Kate, Susie or their loved ones take over in the future........nothing is planned so far.
The next few days are going to be exciting for me and Josh, and of course Catarino. We are the only three who have the passion here. So only a few of us really love this hard work. I love what Catarino, loves, like me and maybe I see the fire in Josh's eyes. The three of us are having a great time........It will be fun
Pat comes home tomorrow and I will get away in my Model S. I charge to 178 and come back with 80 or more so I don't worry about running out, I plan ahead...........so
I am planing ahead, that is what I do best for me. I pick up Pat around noon. And then I have to get about 20 pounds of sausage at Willowside Meats & Sausage Factory. They make the best sausage by far..........if interested I could explain more.
We are picking Petite Sirah and Lagrein tomorrow. The Zin in Block 4 North is fabulous...........Tomorrow I will have more........
Tuesday September 1, 2015, 29 days to my anniversary./...........
Some of you may remember, Pat and I got married in 1973 on September 29. We have only got away on our anniversary during Harvest in the last 37 years, once. We usually harvest until October and maybe into November. The last two years are concerning
Today was the most demanding and most complex of this season. I love what I do
Way after all the excitement in the morning, I picked up Pat and purchased 22 pounds of sausage, Willowside........ I picked up Pat at 2 pm and she headed home after four days with my two daughters, she had a great time so you can imagine We talked for an hour, then of course we had to talk about, Pat had many emails, she is nicer than I? She knows how to organize more than I do, but she only concentrates on Shipping and a few new orders. I am happy to have her back. She keeps me thinking.........
So it is about 9:15 now and I will eventually go up to look at the Giants vs Dodgers on at LA.
We have everything planned for the next 8 days:
Everyday is too complicated to document. It would be interesting to document what happens for the whole Harvest. It would be a great documentary but a movie would be better with........some young guy at first and then an older dude.....I digress as usual
It is a puzzle and it is amazing to experience.................we got a reading for our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which go into Aca Modot, My Zin, Estate Cuvee at 27.9 sugar so do we harvest these small berry grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon when harvested has maybe 4 ounces at the most, some zinfandel bunches can be over 16 ounces, one pound. I am concerned about these small-berries getting even smaller, they are a size of peas, which even the darkest wine we make, Lagrein came in today at about 6 ounces per bunch............Petite Sirah we picked to day and some of those bunches can get up to 16 ounces, most around 9 or so. Did I weigh any of these bunches this year, no but in the past, yes, several times. I just know
So Jose has a bad hand. He cut it so he is on the forklift and taking care of the tasting room. He gave me a letter from his doctor to say I should send him home for two weeks....................Jose says he wants to work and he is doing a lot. We just need to keep in control to not use his hand. It got infected yesterday, but he wants to help.........
I only think about the future for harvest matters but what about global warming. I know there has been events on our earth that was a warming period that went into years. I think we have contributed to some of this problem, but I don't want to blame anyone. I just have to deal with what I have like most of us. The earliest we harvested Cabernet here is last year, every time in the past 37 years Cabernet has only been harvested before September 29, only twice...... and all other years in October SO last year we harvested Cab on September 19 at 26 sugar and we had a reading on a sample today at 27.9 so do I harvest only Cab tomorrow............OH NO......Block 4 has got to be ready and all of you know that is my best seller so Block 4 and the rest of Lagrein is set up for tomorrow, I could go on, but not now. We have planned to pick until next Monday, even Sunday. If Cab is ready almost everything else is............like Grenache, Aglianico Tannat..........Oh, it will be fun...............
Thursday September 3, 2015
Last night Pat and I had a nice discussion: I started the problem with Pat when I mentioned Trump. I think he will run as an independent so Pat said "So what" comparing Trump with Nader's run. She forgot about the election in 2000 when Nader decided the election. So I said Trump could cause both parties to suffer if he ran as an independent. I love politics so I digress
Yesterday it was another hectic day. Jose even with his damaged hand was a big help.
Like I have said Harvest is a big responsibility and I have good help around me to make great wine..............
We brought in a lot of the pieces to the Harvest puzzle yesterday. Tuesday evening I was ranting to Pat about our need to harvest our cab. So yesterday morning she reminded me in front of Catarino that I mentioned we should try some cab.........So Harvest is complicated but I think I have everything planned for the next 7 days...............WOW, Catarino suggested to get off Monday. He is so neat!! He did not say but I am hoping they will have a party to support Labor, who knows but after a 20 minute conversation with Catarino this morning I decided to pick More Cab tomorrow, more Block 4 and some Petite Sirah. We did several sugar tests yesterday, 7 samples from Catarino. We are too organized, maybe better than Matt?. All the samples, like Aglianico, Carignan, Petite Verdot and Merlot need a week or two. Yesterday morning, we brought in 2 tons of Block 4 first, then a little less than a ton of the last Lagrein and then our first Cabernet Clone 341. The sugar for the Clone 341 was 27+, for Lagrein 27+ and Block 4 26 sugar, perfect. For the first two we already put in a little water. If these lots would swell up to 29 sugar, which could be possible if we did not add water, that could convert to over 17% alcohol so we will monitor.....
Some of you may be thinking of what I am doing in the stock market so I will make it short..........I bought more Apple and was hoping to buy more bargains yesterday morning but the Market was up. I have most of my money in Tesla, as you know. It is about my love of my Model S. When I am in this Machine I am in complete control to do anything. If I was younger it would have been more fun to have a Tesla Model S, but at 21 years old I had a measly 1964 Corvette. Hey back then I had a disappointing auto, 1964 was inferior to the 1963. The 1963 was the first stingray. It was the first real popular Corvette. It had this nice one inch strip down the middle of the back window, so it was neat. In 1964 the visual strip was removed. So there was a little disappointment, but I still bought the 1964 at a cost to me of $4950.49 out the door. That cost me $127.00 a month. That was my first and maybe my favorite car until my Model S. That Corvette, when I was 21 years old, handled real well, especially on wide turns or on the freeway. I could drive that 1964 at a constant speed over 100 and did so many times including across America in 1965. I digress
So we will finish Block 4 tomorrow and Petite Sirah Friday and Saturday. Also on Saturday we will pick Grenache. We will then take a break from picking since Catarino and friends want to celebrate the great American labor holiday. We are harvesting through Saturday and we will take Sunday and Monday off, all laborers need a rest................
Then on Tuesday and Wednesday we will harvest Cabernet Clone 337 and Merlot. Everyday Josh and I will be making adjustments which are required to keep the fermenting wine in balance. We have no days off. Also tomorrow and next week we will have a lot of pressing to do. It is easy, just organization.........It will be fun.......
8:15 Pm: So Pat has to put up with me during Harvest. I am not easy to deal with. I think all the time and talk too much...........
So I know I am too much into politics and you would understand Pat who does not care anything about politics and has to put up with a lot from me but she did say last night she wanted to vote for a woman president........I digress as usual
Today went well as usual...........
We brought in more Block 4 at 26+ sugar, we will have to deal with it, by adding water. Even more concerning we brought in some more Petite Sirah at as much a 28 sugar. We also brought in the last of the Clone 341 Cabernet at well over 27 sugar. Tomorrow we will harvest the rest of the Block 4 and then move to more of the Petite Sirah. On Saturday we will pick a few pounds of a neighbors Syrah. Dorthy is so nice. She tutored Salvador in English and offered me free Syrah grapes. I will hand her back 2 cases of Terre Melange. Also on Saturday we will harvest Grenache
OK, it will be the most important 5 days of the Harvest. We will take off Sunday and Monday, but after that we will have to press everyday because we will have filled the winery with Merlot, and Clone 337 Cabernet on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will find room, but if not we would have to put fermenters outside. As some of you know, our winery is somewhat small. We have to have room for our HD 10 ft, wide screen and then we have many barrels and now fermenters taking up the room. So this is fine with me, I like our 38x68 ft room. I only have one place like this, after walls and the HD screen and equipment we still have about 2000 square feet of open space. We will be full except for a little room for tasting. Come in and enjoy..........
Saturday September 5, 2015
OK we had a little change yesterday, we did not harvest all the Petite Sirah. Catarino agreed, we had time today to pick the rest of the PS...........PS or Petite Sirah was the first wine I liked when I got here. I had been drinking nothing but Bordeaux before I moved here. I had some old vine Petite Sirah here.........With PS I made wine that I liked back in 1979 and that kept me happy until I started the winery in 1994. I also started enjoying Zinfandel in 1982 and then started making blends. We planted some new PS about 10 years ago and I think this new clone is far better, but it was still called Clone One at all the nurseries, no other clones existed........so I am confused....Was my old vines a different clone? This new clone sure ripens earlier.
It looks like after Block 4 was brought in and now the PS, we had a decent crop from those two. Some of our young vines have done OK. The old vines have produced much less fruit this year. We are down about 30% so I have 60 extra empty barrels, we will not use this year...........SSOO I could sell them or keep them in case I need more barrels next year........how long will this drought last????????
One thing I can say, the color in our wine in last three years is much darker than I remember before so if less crop will be the norm, I am not worried.....This is a change....In the past most of my best wine came from high yielding years.
So yesterday was interesting. In the early afternoon, the North Wind was up so that usually means we will get hotter. About that time, someone in my neighbor's property, was driving down our mutual road way too fast so I had Catarino chase after him but he could not catch him. We do not need dust all over our grapes. There is a lot of second crop waiting to be harvested for Dave's Cuvee in a few weeks and dirt on these berries will not be good, even if it rained. If the grapes get wet and mix with the dirt rot may form...........So the person driving down my neighbors right of away, made a large dust that even was felt up here near the winery. He drove only 10 miles an hour but unless someone drives 3 miles an hour, there is a cloud of dust Sooooo
After weighing grapes I still saw the same truck up near our fence. So I went over and tried to get his attention and he was not responding. I tried even swearing to get his attention, he ignored me. I was trying to find out why he would drive so fast down a vineyard road. After a sew seconds I went back to work. Then Catarino came over and said this guy wanted to record me. I guess he was offended. I called the owner and reported him. I doubt it will do any good.
Today we did harvest the rest of the PS and took a load of Grenache in along with 125 pounds of Syrah from our neighbor. Tuesday we will pick the clone 337 Cabernet.
9:30 Pm: I should be up soon to look at Tennis or politics or Giants........
As you know I have to remind myself: Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, sometimes I may wait. I have to now, but it won't be easy. I am obsessed I want more fruit. I will come down........... and actually this should be a good thing. Josh and I have to go over our analysis. We are full, there must be over 20 fermenters OR more..............yes, tomorrow will be another day
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