Sunday, November 14, 1999
Steve came by yesterday to help pour wine since Brendan and I were pressing the Jones Cab second crop. Steve informed us that we won't be receiving Pinot anymore--he lost the lease on the Russian River vineyard. I was amazed that I actually felt let down. Even though I am not a Pinot lover, I have been impressed by the fruit that can be extracted from this varietal. I still believe it would blend perfectly with my zin. The style of the wine I have made this year from the Pinot is extracted with a nice spicy character created from the hot fermentation. We have only 20 cases left to sell. Or maybe I will use some for blending into the zin?
I just went down to checkout the late harvest sauv blanc and noticed there are a lot of raisins ready to pick. This area almost always has to be picked at two different times. There is a great deal of rot developing, but the bunches need to dry out now. We need at least a week of dry weather to harvest those bunches, but the raisin bunches could be picked in the next two days.
Tuesday, November 16, 1999
I'm very depressed tonight. I'm having computer problems again. I don't report this too often but when I spend any amount of time on the computers, I seem to have numerous problems. Brad has been here the last two days and he always kind of smiles and says "it's a Microsoft thing." I don't really believe that as much as some of these software companies come out with products that don't work with all hardware components. My latest problem is a program called "Talk Works" that was highly rated, manufactured by Symantec. This software program should provide me with voicemail or a high-quality answering machine. My problem is that it doesn't seem to be compatible with my Diamond Supra Express 56i modem. Of course, Symantec doesn't tell me this but since it freezes up my phone line and cuts off the the dial tone, I know it's not working correctly. The only way to reinstate the dial tone is, believe it or not, to disconnect the plug on the back of my computer. This is a very drastic measure but I've been through this many times this weekend on two of our four computers so I'm about to give up on the program.
We've had rain for the last day and a half. Therefore, the possible harvest of the late harvest sauvignon blanc has been delayed. It seems to have cleared up tonight so I may send Brendan out to take a look at the grapes and maybe start harvesting tomorrow. Brendan has also calibrated many more pH readings from our newly pressed barrels. Therefore, I have much more info to help me decide which barrels I will be blending into each of our wines. Now that we suspect that some of the wines have gone through malolatic fermentation, the acid levels have fallen and thus the pH levels have risen correspondingly. This gives me many options for blending my high acid wines such as the Barbera and some of the Cab and Petite Sirah. The Rafanelli Petite Sirah purchased from Lambert Bridge did turn out to be fairly low in acid and I have many wines that might benefit from the addition of this juice.
Thursday, November 18, 1999
I made Brendan an offer he could not refuse! Pick the Late Harvest Sauv
Blanc and I will give you half the profits for a bonus this year. Mind
you Brendan is already receiving a great salary for a three year old apprentice
in winemaking. He is worth it though. He also receives a case of every
wine we make. I've tired of picking and making the wine (it must
be picked by someone who knows.) so this is great for me also. Let's see:
He harvested 214 lbs. I am still pressing at 10pm, and it will go on all
night (wait a minute--Isn't he supposed to be making the wine? I must talk
to him tomorrow.). The yield so far is about 18 gals. The final wine after
settling and evaporation may yield 15 gals--or a mere 150 half bottles.
If we sell the wine for $20 that should yield a gross of $3000. The sugar
appears to be in the mid 30's which will require a new filtering machine
costing over $2000. I haven't told Brendan that yet.