Monday September 25, 2023
There is no sun today. There is still a chance of a little rain. We can't wait anymore so we will start harvesting Zinfandel on Wednesday. We hope the sugars will be up a little, but we may have a low alcohol year which will make some of my customers happy. The alcohol in the fermenting one ton of Old Vine Zinfandel we harvested last week looks to be in the low 14% range when finished so not too bad. Time will tell!!
7pm.......Still waiting for rain, what I can find, it will be very little so we are still on for Harvest Wednesday or even tomorrow if we have such low amount of rain!!
Tuesday September 26, 2023
Very little rain!! Nice, so we are starting Harvest again tomorrow..........
Does anyone know about Shopify? The State of California wants to know if I paid my fair amount in sales tax.........so I got a letter and now I talked to a nice state employee. She has a point because I told her, I have spent days trying to figure that out, I do not know the amount of sales tax I owe the State for the last years since we started using Shopify. It will not cost me too much, maybe 10K, if that. The biggest problem is Our Club and "Futures". Again is there anyone out there? Most of our sales are out of State so how do you figure that out????
I will go to Google tomorrow to see if I can find something, before:::!!!,....did you hear, the feds are after Google and Amazon, yes I better hurry......I know the feds take a while. But after Harvest tomorrow I will do more research about Shopify, what do I owe to the State!! Please help me!!
Wednesday September 27, 2023
We decided to pick Block One today which goes into our Block 4 Old Vine mix of several varieties. We picked selectively like we did the other day in Block 3 which goes into our Zin and My Zin wines. In both times we left some less ripe bunches which is not easy, but mostly we look for very little red in the berries and some raisins. The sugar today came in about 23.5%. The other day in Block 3 we had about 22.5 the first day and now the fermentation is almost finished and we could have about 15% alcohol so those few raisins soaked up which was good!! That gives us confidence we can harvest all the old vine Zin and Block 4 section with good alcohol, we are looking for about 15%. For the last several years we have picked at higher sugars and we had to add some water to make sure we do not go too high in the final alcohol.
BTW, the approximate conversion rate for alcohol is 0.58 Times the initial sugar so a reading of 23.5% in all varieties, but Zin, converts to potential of 13.6% alcohol. That is why we want higher initial sugars, like yesterday we had samples of Sagrantino at 24.7 which converts to about 14.3 alcohol thus is getting close. Another thing we consider is that usually in sunny days this time of year, sugars go up about 1.5% in a week.
Tomorrow we will harvest some more Block 3 and Friday we could do the Sagrantino, Merlot or Cab. Saturday it looks like it may be a little rain or for sure some cold weather so we won't pick. We will start again on Monday.
Thursday September 28, 2023
If any of you have kept up with my life? Pat and I will be married for 50 years tomorrow and we will go out to a nice restaurant. It is always harvest on our anniversary!!! Maia and the Family will be here on Saturday and Sunday for Pizza and maybe Paella on Sunday..........
We harvested 3 tons of old vine zin today and it looks good so we are doing Sagrantino and Cab tomorrow!! It is stressful!! I keep going back to several years for harvest info and it is complicated. What do I do after tomorrow, it still looks like it may rain on this weekend!!
Friday September 29, 2023......Pat and I were married 50 years ago, September 29, 1973.
That day we did not know we would have a winery! We have never been able to go on a vacation, it is Harvest Time!! But we are going out to dinner to a local restaurant, Valette!
Today we harvested a ton of Cabernet at 25.4% sugar and a ton of Sagrantino at 26.5%, just what we wanted! Monday we will probably go back to Old Vine Zinfandel.
Monday October 2, 2023
We are back to harvesting Old Vine Zin. The sugar was a little lower than I expected, about 23% but there are a lot of raisins showing up now so I am sure the resultant sugar will go up to 25% still close to 15% alcohol. Tomorrow we will go back to picking Cabernet and some Malbec with Merlot which will go into our Aca Modot blend.
Tuesday October 3, 2023...........It is getting dark earlier and taking more time to see rising temperatures. Yes, good since it got to 90 today and may get to 100 in the next 2 days BUT with only 11 hours light now will that be enough to get my 80% Grapes out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!.....Ripe??
It was a good day for harvest, brought in Cabernet!!.......but really interesting when we did the needed sugar tests.........Nebbiolo was 24.5, we need 25+.......Cab my Long Row, my hopefully the best in the next 2 years was only 23.5, we want 25......Sangiovese was only 22.5 and we need to harvest it the same day as Nebbiolo...........
OK, the positives: Barbera, 25.8......Zin South for Block 6 is READY!!.......26.6..........so guess what, we are picking Block 6 Zin tomorrow, maybe 3 tons?
Wednesday October 4, 2023
As usual, too many things in my mind, especially complicating things for the future: The problems in the Congress. I am concerned if we do not give aid to Ukraine and if we do not approve the extension for the budget..........
Today is complicated so we will need to do some more harvesting in the Old Vines and Block 4 but before that we need to pick the rest of the Sagrantino with some Barbera for Italiano. Friday I want to pick all the Nebbiolo, we should only get a barrel and with some topping off with Sangiovese which is not yet ready...........we should be able to produce our first barrel of Nebbiolo!!
Gee Tomorrow is another day?
Thursday October 5, 2023
great dinner tonight, Duck Legs and duck fat Fries!!
It is getting more complicated!! Tomorrow we have decided to do more Block 4!! It is very unusual to have the Block 4 section ready before Old Vine Zinfandel!! Usually Block 4 comes in after Old Vine Zinfandel SO this does not happen!! I will live with it, but it does make me think more, which is good!! Always in my life, like back when I traded stocks every day, I have on problem making decisions, even in a short time!!!
today we did pick Zin and Block 4 so the Block 4 with All these different varieties takes longer to come around, but Catarino, my best friend!! said the bunches in Block 3 and especially Block 4 Zin South HAS LARGE bunches so we had to be selective in the Zin. BUT
Now I know more of the puzzle, we need to pick more Block 4 tomorrow!! But, now we need to think about Merlot, Cab New, Petite Sirah, Sagrantino, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Aglianico, Carignan, Grenache.......in what order, everyday is different.......100 Degrees today and tomorrow
It is so easy for me, every day, making wine.
......I love what I do!!
Friday October 6, 2023
We heard there may be a little rain on Monday so we will not be harvesting. We need a break anyway to do some sugar tests for PS, Cab younger, Nebbiolo and as I said yesterday many more!! I will get a rest this weekend? And get some sleep?
Today we did harvest most of the rest of Block 4. We still have Zinfandel in the South Section of Block 4 which goes as our Old Vines and into My Zin and Zinfandel, 100%. But for some reason it may be behind PS and other varieties?.........
I think we will do Merlot on Tuesday, but it could be Nebbiolo, we need to do more sugar tests it is a jig saw puzzle!!
Monday October 9, 2023
There was very little rain, only .02 inches but it was too cold to harvest. Remember we need 70 degrees for our MLF to work in the first two days. It may be too cold tomorrow also so we may have to wait until Wednesday. That means we may pick on Saturday and Sunday, if it is warm enough. We did do two sugar tests though with high sugar: Petite Sirah was 28.2% and Nebbiolo was 26.2%, both high and ready to harvest. But we have Merlot and younger Cab that is ready also so we will start with them. The Merlot and cab will take one day, a total of 4 tons. The Nebbiolo is less than a ton so we can also pick about 3 tons of Petite Sirah on Thursday. We do have about another 2 tons to pick of Petite Sirah on Friday and will start on some of the last Old Vine Zinfandel, about 2.5 tons. We will do some more sugar tests tomorrow to test Aglianico and Carignan. Also Grenache may be ready. Below is a Wikipedia definition of MLF I was talking about:
Malolactic conversion (also known as malolactic fermentation or MLF) is a process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation is most often performed as a secondary fermentation shortly after the end of the primary fermentation, but can sometimes run concurrently with it. The process is standard for most red wine production and common for some white grape varieties such as Chardonnay, where it can impart a "buttery" flavor
Tuesday October 10, 2023
Even though it will be too cool today for our MLF conversion, I have decided to harvest some grapes. We will not destem the fruit today, just store the 60 degree grapes inside. We will pick 2 tons of a Petite Sirah and a ton of Merlot. Tomorrow we will pick some warmer fruit of both varieties and destem the cooler fruit first and then put the warmer fruit on top. First tomorrow we will pick some Sangiovese and then Nebbiolo when it is warmer in the morning or early afternoon. All the Nebbiolo will go into our first Nebbiolo wine and will be topped off with 25% Sangiovese. Later tomorrow we will pick some Petite Sirah and the rest of the Merlot and maybe some younger Cabernet. It will be complicated!
This was the most complicated day.........We did harvest Petite Sirah and Merlot which I planned to combine with hotter stuff tomorrow.......and then I thought about picking tomorrow, the Sangiovese over in a vineyard we lease for Estate wines. Then at 5pm today we had a shot of rain which was not forecast. So now tomorrow morning, with water still on the vines in Cloverdale, we will wait for another day.......
Now so the puzzle gets more complicated, sure we are almost half through, but we still have many days left for Harvest and that means, hopefully we will not get too much rain until the first week of November, late for us......... What tomorrow??????????
Thursday October 12, 2023
Yesterday was another complicated day, what else is new?? Because of the 0.10 inch of rain the night before, the vines were covered in water so we had to wait for the wind and sun to dry them off. That meant we started at 10am and finished picking at 2:30. We ended up picking the rest of the Merlot and Cabernet which will go into Aca Modot along with some Old Vine Zinfandel. The Zin came in higher than we thought, over 26% sugar.
It looks like it may be warmer in the next two days so we can do some more Zinfandel, but first we are picking Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, it will be fun!!
4pm: We are finished for the day and we did harvest Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. We destemed the half ton of Nebbiolo and put on top 23% Sangiovese. That should make us about 50 cases of our first Nebbiolo and should be about 15% alcohol. The rest of the Sangiovese will go into our Italiano blend. Today we also harvested the last of the Petite Sirah and blended it with our Old Vine Zinfandel and that will go into our Estate Cuvee or My Zin.
Tomorrow we should finish the last of our Old Vine Zinfandel and then our Escuro which will contain Alvarelhao, Souzao, and Tannat. Escuro will also have some Aglianico and Lagrein. We should have 50 to 75 cases.
I mentioned a lease on Tuesday. A few years ago a neighbor very near here asked me if I wanted some grapes and since he has very little and Catarino tends the vineyard, I agreed to lease it. Some of you may know many wineries, much larger than we, lease a lot of vineyards and as long as the wine is made from the same appellation, like Dry Creek Valley for us, the fruit can be used in Estate wines. So we harvest a little over a ton from this vineyard and the grapes consist of Sangiovese, Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc. It is a little warmer up the road so it is a nice blending compliment to our grapes.
Friday October 13, 2023, not a bad day for the 13th
We did bring in what we hoped for and we will take a few days off because it will be cold (M/L). Also next week we have to pack up our Wine Club, that will take more than 20 hours......So
How do we include the Wine Club in our Harvest. We are now 2/3rds done!! And everything we checked on sugar samples shows we are ready to pick everything, about 24 tons in 6 days, some varieties like the last one to get ripe, Montepulsiano will take another week to ripen........ so we can take a few days off..........Pat and all our Wine Club members will be happy, we will have the shipment out on schedule, the 23rd or 24th.
So we may harvest a few days next week and will finish close to the end of the month?? Tomorrow will be a good day, I can sleep and have fun hearing about what Jose has to say about a winery full of fermenters, we may have to add water, the sugars are rising!!
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