||Sunday August 16, 2020
Interesting day, yelled a lot. Our PG&E people turned off our power here. There was a transformer down in Healdsburg we heard from Catalina. We had no internet here so no updates but Pat went out to the vineyard 500 feet away to get cell service, yes we do not have service here................
,......... why our power went off at 5am Sure there were lightning strikes but all the other parts of Sonoma County had no problems. At 3Pm we finally got power which helps, since we had no water or internet. We did have power from the Tesla Solar and Powerwalls so we had no problem running what ever we wanted, but we did shut down non essential things. But we do not have power from the Powerwalls in the winery or Guest house
Then, Vista was a problem our local out far in the country internet. After getting power, we still did not have internet. Sure we did have water finally, which was shut off because of no backup........don't get me into that tonight.......oh gee I started asking for backup here in January and all these companies have been Failures. I have spent so far 70K and after 8 months, I have no backup in the water system and Winery.l.l.l.l.l.l./////////...............Pat says I am crazy, I will agree, I like to be uptight at times............
OK, I signed up for Hughes. It will give me a backup for internet and I am getting a different system to back up our Water, it was not easy today carrying water to our toilets and kitchen BUT
I was so upset so i started a pizza dough at 9 this morning and eventually it was so much fun to have pizza again.............
So I will be up at 6am our time to check on the Market, but will be ON the Harvest, our first.......Pinot
I just uploaded my diary and it was so much fun, just think I was so upset today since I did not have anyway to communicate. We have the internet and it is so hard without it................
Monday August 17, 2020
Big day today. I even had someone say can you handle it. Of course I can this is the 42nd Harvest for me. It is not easy but I still have no problem.
The morning started off at 5:30 Am for me. I went down and saw Tesla was up again SO in between Harvest I sold 25 shares.
Then my new projector was installed today......long story, like the TSLA trades
So Catarino and our great crew, all fabulous Mexicans, I don't want to get into politics, but Trump would say they are not all great.
We ended up harvesting Pinot today. I will go into more detail tomorrow morning. We need to harvest Sauv Blanc tomorrow. We may be harvesting Zin by the end of the month..........Tomorrow Is Another Day
Tuesday August 18, 2020
My second cataract surgery is tomorrow. Pat will take me and then my followup is Thursday and Jesse will take me. Jose will be too busy tending to wine.
For years, probably over 30 I have not liked oak in white wine, except for White expensive Burgundy and Ramey. Now for the last year I have been trying some of the chardonnay wines Pat likes. Most of the wines are not great so I have been mixing the wines with half my 2017 Sauv Blanc that was in a new French barrel. It has way too much oak but blended it is very close to nice White Burgundy, just my opinion. I am running out of the 2017 Sauv Blanc, we only bottled 24 cases. So this year I am going to make a white wine that will be aged in a new American Oak barrel. Our white wine called Luminaire is a blend of several varietals. We are picking some today and will finish tomorrow. Today we are harvesting some Sauv Blanc, Viognier and Muscat. I will hold back 50 gallons to go into new American oak. We usually press the grapes right away and then settle the solids over night in our large freezer and set the temp at 25 degrees. For my wine we will rack off about 50 gallons and we will not settle in the freezer. We will ferment in a stainless steel barrel with all the solids. After fermentation, we will add the 50 gallons to a new 60 gallon American Oak barrel and top it off with the settled fermented wine. It will be interesting...........
Correction on the white grapes picked today. We actually picked Gewurztraminer instead of Muscat so the blend today is about 50% Viognier, 25% Sauv Blanc and 25% Gewurzt. See above it will be aged in a new American oak barrel, not fermented.
Some of you may have heard we have another big fire around here........again it is only 5 miles away, just like last year, but this one is South and West of us. It seems to be dying from what we can see AND for us it would have to travel over a very high hill here full of a lot of Vineyards........and Vineyards with so much green does not catch fire as easily........... It is here between us and Russian River area. The wind changes a lot around here so I will not sleep well as usual tonight: Do I ever sleep when I do not know what the time is, every hour I predict the time......OK, back to Earth....tomorrow I will have my other eye done..........
Here are some nice pictures Pat took tonight........enjoy
Wednesday August 19, 2020
Another tough day!! My two daughters and Pat wanted me to cancel the Cataract surgery this morning. I said no, I need to do it!!
As most of you know there is a big fire over the hill from us in Russian River and most people over there have been evacuated. Even a Sheriff came by here last night about 9pm and suggested we leave. I said no. This morning down to have my surgery, all the roads around here were closed and we had to have permission to move on down to Santa Rosa.
My surgery went well but it helps with some wine tonight. I will have a small hit also which should help.
I still cooked a nice meal of Salmon and corn AND
Susie is coming up to make sure we evacuate over my dead body!!
There was a fire across the way from here 50 years ago and when we came here in 1979, I could see no green on the hill above Russian River. We can see a lot of fire action over these hills again, but back then and now I believe it would have to come over all those green vegetation and through all our vineyard that has not happened in over 120 years..........sure we are concerned................Tomorrow Will Be Another Day?
Thursday August 20, 2020
My eyes are fine, different from before so I will go into it at another time...............
Soon Pat will send me pictures of planes over head........over our property and heading over to the Fire to drop retardant. Why they are over us concerns us because the fire may be near. As I have said it would have to come over the hill through all the vineyards on West Dry Creek Road.
OK, I have one daughter here and I heard the first born may come back to make sure I leave if they require me to. I can say now, I will never leave. Where would I go to shelter and get the Virus. OK I could go to San Francisco again or to friends and daughters...........but if it happens I will be here if everything goes away here. I will take my chances.
I have had a great life, and I want to die here so this crap about this fire completely whipping West Dry Creek and moving through all these vineyards, no chance. I am not going anywhere...............
Friday August 21, 2020
Dee Planes, Dee Planes.....remember that show???
What can I say!! It is very concerning here. We woke up with no internet but with water, so we knew we had power, but we also knew power was off in West Dry Creek Valley about a mile from us..........over there they were evacuated. So for us to have internet about mid day, our provider had to set up a generator because we need to have a relay from that side of the valley to come over to us......long story
We still have seen planes over head all day. We have seen red flames this morning right over the hill from us. Tomorrow hopefully will be another day........................
Saturday August 22, 2020
It has been cloudy today from the fires so we have not seen any planes around here. We have suspected it is not clear enough for them or maybe they are down near Healdsburg.
The Sheriff wants us to leave and I want to be around so we can press the Pinot on Monday. Pat is leaving with Kate and Bryan and I may follow on Monday.
I really think there is little possibility that these mostly 110 year old vines will be gone. Sure I know if the fire comes over the hill we could lose buildings and wine...........but I will start up again, because we have the vineyard and old vines.
I am alone tonight because my Family did not want to be here. I respect that but they could have staid a day or two to see what would happen.
The Family are concerned the fire will come over the hill tonight, really in a few hours??
OK back three years there was a fire that went through Santa Rosa, that fire went down a channel, look it up.........
I am concerned about the Fire up near Warm Springs Dam. I do not think the fire south of us will be a concern.
My fear has been if the next fire, not this one, I will survive. What if the fire in the Future
OK, tonight I am having a great sip of my new B4, 2019...........In the future::: So what if a fire goes down a channel, like Canyon Road or maybe down Dutcher Creek Road and then funnels down our valley. Look it up on a map
To make this clear, to go over the hill this time is not..........the future is my concern................
Sunday August 23, 2020
I am still here........Pat and our daughters have left. I need to make sure the wine is good. I miss Pat who organizes shipping but we don't even know if Fed Ex will come in here tomorrow.
They!! They say there may be another lightning storm and could be tonight and cause more fires, but we are a long way away from the fires now, but things could change tonight...........
I have always wanted to experience a lighting storm in the night, but we do not need it here right now with all this brown vegetation , not like the Mid West where there is Green.
I just called a close friend who has a vineyard up on the hill across from us and he told me he has been camping up there to make sure if he can help......................................
Jose and Salvador had trouble coming in here today......cops......but we did press our Red Pinot and we will do sugar tests tomorrow for Zin
Monday August 24, 2020
There were no lightning strikes last night and it is clear now, but hazy from the fires. They lifted the evacuation requirement so Pat is coming back tomorrow and our workers had not trouble coming in today.
We did our sugar tests in old vine Zin and we were surprised to get over 26 sugar in one section SO we will harvest a ton on Wednesday to make sure and either go more on Thursday and Friday.
So we are ready to go with Zin tomorrow, maybe as much as 2 tons. we will do 8 rows of the 24 and see how it goes. I have to check the sugar and make sure we can continue.
I was thinking to say this may be our earliest harvest of Zin but I am wrong.........with Global Warming we have been harvesting earlier. It is not a bad thing, I have always said an early harvest gives us more acid to last for 20+ years, just try some of our older wines if you have them...............
Tonight it is clearing up a little after all this smoke I hope our great Mexican workers will be OK to harvest our first Zin.
Tuesday August 25, 2020
7:30 There is nothing more intense for me........Harvest
Another day, thanks for that................
We started off harvesting this morning at 6:30 and finished by 11:30. We harvested 3 tons of old vine zin at 24 sugar. Zin usually wells up another brix or more depending if there are a lot of raisins in the bunches. There are always raisins so by far it is the hardest wine grape to harvest since when the raisins swell up we do not know for sure what the alcohol will be........
In all years we have the right to add water to lower the perceived alcohol, it is complicated and always a guess until fermentation is over.........and we do not want to add water to lower the alcohol after fermentation is complete.......
24 sugar would give us an alcohol of 14% and we want around 15. That said almost all our zin based wines in the past have been well over 15%. Like I said we try every year to tone it down so I am encouraged for our first day of harvesting Zin in the old block we may be able to keep the alcohol in control.
I am now 77 years old and even in the past I like my red wine at 68 degrees SSSSSSOO I put a piece of ice in my high alcohol Zin wines to lower the alcohol to around 15 or lower and it is always hot outside or even in the kitchen. There is nothing wrong with that, try it............
We will start again harvesting on Thursday. I have and eye appointment tomorrow and I will pick up Pat, she has many emails to deal with.........yes why did she leave me on Saturday, BUT I made a very intense Risotto tonight which she would not like......
I need her back and I will pick her up tomorrow 78 miles away and back so My model S has is charged to 290 for plenty of miles......I love my S...........
Wednesday August 26, 2020
Even before 8
I made it down to pick up Pat in The City after 180 miles, my Model S was great!
Tomorrow we will harvest Zin.........Hey I have been harvesting Zinfandel from this vineyard for now the 42 vintage........every year is different. OK, so we harvested zin yesterday at 24 sugar./...............,
I know most so called experts say it is Brix,,,,,,......seriously why not say sugar. The percent of sugar yesterday could say Brix at 24, but I like to say 24% sugar,,,,,,......I am sorry, it is great to have Pat home so I know she will be looking at a Giants game to night.
I digress.......I do not want to go into politics right now, because I am not a good typast and thus it would keep me here for another hour and I have to see the convention........the talking heads and then there is TSLA up to 2150...........
Oh, now I remember........surprise, the Zin brought in yesterday at 24 sugar is up to day at 26..........Zin is so complicated
OK, Tomorrow is another day?
Thursday August 27, 2020
We brought in 3.7 tons of Old Vine Zinfandel today. The sugar was up a little to 24.5 so we may have to add water if it swells up to 27. Tomorrow we will harvest in our 4th block south of the fruit for our Block 4 wine. On Saturday we will start on Block 4 or our 1st block which goes into the Block 4.
It has been very hazy here all day but our great harvesters are not complaining. I should pay them extra for hazardous work........
So I have been using Instacart for my delivery for groceries. I could order in the past from either Costco or Safeway SSOOOO
Today Both Safeway and Costco would not deliver our groceries today.........why!!
Are they afraid of the haze from the fires. Do they do not have their act together...................I will look tomorrow,........ but if not a delivery, I will drive into Safeway for the first time in months.........I had loved shopping at Safeway. I have been in there 2 times since March to pick up my drugs, now just High Blood Pressure......don't get me into that.......everytime I move my blood pressure goes way up SSSSSSSSOOOOOSO.......why do they want to take it when I rest for at least 10 minutes..........+
S.,o I am out of Dogfish 90, O still have Dogfish 120 which is 15.3% alcohol, like my wine...too much. I have tried to order 90 in Instacart and they have not found it. I know where it is in Safeway so that is one of the many things it is better to shop in person.......
I have said before and I will say again..........if I had to do the Harvest for a whole year, I don't know if I could last..?...... Five years............think of this:
What ever President is in the Office, it is much more intense for them SO even Trump is going through much more that he has endured before. Let's hope he makes OK decisions before he is OUT...........
Friday August 28, 2020
8 edited many times
Another complicated day!!!!!!!!!! Too much to relate. As you know I love what I do and it keeps me alive and not sitting all day in my bed at 77 years old....G
So last night I tried to see some of the convention. I was more interested in the talking heads, but when I turned it on after an hour I still saw Trump giving his speech. I went up stairs in my new audio visual room and did not see Direct TV on SSSOOOOOOOO I was very upset.......what did I do........here some great music and then I read my book and got to sleep at 10. Remember we had to harvest today.........
This morning I woke up after a decent sleep, remember I always wake up after two hours or so and hopefully go back to sleep....this morning it was 5:15 Am and I had to figure out why I did not have DirecTV last night........This is complicated but these people who were in here to put in my new system wrap up all the cables in a neat bind so::::how do I find which cable goes where. I know most of you have only a cable going to a TV but I have amplifiers, Sub woofers and many DVD players and THE DirecTV in a bind of cables..............
So I was a wake and more forecast at 5:15 so I found the one cable to the DirecTV was disconnected,,,, sure it must have been me? Probably...but when but who cares now, my life is complicated and I like it that way............
I am happy now with that problem solved........
So today we harvested old vine Zin from the 4th block, not our Block 4 wine and it came in fine at 24 sugar. So I said let's try our Block One which goes into Block 4 wine and we brought in one ton and it was only 23 sugar. What is good about that? We have had trouble in the past to get the Block One section to finish fermenting, maybe it has a mind of it's own or maybe we have been harvesting at too high a sugar,,,,,,,,,./well that will not be a factor with this one ton..........
So we will not be harvesting the Block 4 section and will not be harvesting the rest of Block One. We will take a break.
It was cooler today with some haze and we have heard the temps will go up next week so we need to be patient.......it is only in August......BUT it is time to do many sugar tests on sections of our vineyard.......every year it is so complicated......which variety will be next???
The best news now is if PG&E shuts off power we have water and internet everywhere. Hughes is OK and now we have a solar pump set up in a shack near the guesthouse so we have water everywhere. We will not have power in the Winery unless these contractors can get it set up with our generator......40 thousand plus dollars later and 6 months .......long story
OK, I have made enough money on Tesla so I decided to buy some high end cabs SOOOSSSSO I paid an average price of $100 for 5 cabs. I will give results in the next few nights.
Saturday August 29, 2020
Not much happening today since we are not harvesting. Jose and Salvador did come in to tend to the many fermentations we have now. The sugar on the low First block Zin did swell up to over 24 sugar so things look good. We will do more sugar tests on Monday and may start harvesting again on Wednesday. We need a little heat to move the sugars up........sure we have been still near 90 but a move up to mid 90's would help.......It is early, Dave, be patient............
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