Archive for October, 2012

How Does This Wine Season Compare?

October 21st, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

As farmers/grape growers we sometimes find ourselves complaining about any weather conditions that are not ideal, but a few days of bad weather does not a vintage make.  Generally a cooler season is the most favorable, but a hotter year does not necessarily result in California style wines.  Our “hot” does not compare with what California considers hot.  As a result, I don’t suspect anyone will be producing “fruit bombs” this season, even though we had less than average rainfall and higher temperatures. Remember 2006? That was a hotter year, yet it produced bigger, more alcoholic wines. I see 2012 to be a comfortable blend of the 2006 and 2008 vintages. From what I’ve seen, most fruit coming in is not reflecting high alcohol due to high sugar levels. The end of September and October have been sunny and cooler, which have slowed sugars and aided in flavor development.

Low precipitation can be countered with irrigation, but we can still allow the characteristics of the fruit to come through.  If the season is a drier one, then let that be reflected in the wine produced. It does not mean the wine will be of any less quality. It only means that it may not be the ideally balanced wine we would all love to produce each year.

 

 

Harvest!

October 20th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

This is always an exciting time in wine country. It is also an anxious time.  There is the excitement of the plump grapes coming into the winery to begin their evolution to wine, but also the anxiousness of all that goes on during harvest to get the fruit safely into the winery in a timely manner.

When to pick? We are monitoring the sugar level, pH, total acidity, seed ripening, lignification of the stems, and flavor development. We continue to monitor the weather patterns, the vitality of the vines, and the timing of the astrological signs (biodynamic timing).

So, here we are, at 23 to 24 brix (percent by volume sugar content), 3.4 pH, 7 TA (titratable acidity), good brown seeds, brown stems, flavors coming in fully, and the stars in perfect alignment.

We will pick the fruit between 7:00 and 11:00 in the morning to get the fruit in the winery cool and give us the rest of the day (and night if needed) to de-stem the Pinot Noir grapes and get them into fermentation tanks to cold stabilize before fermentation begins. The Pinot Gris will be picked, taken to the winery, and immediately be pressed off the skins and put into stainless steel tanks to begin fermenting.

The weather has been great this fall with moderate temperatures and sunshine, much like 2008. The fruit has held up very well. The birds have not found the fruit yet.  And the fruit is ripening much more timely than the last couple of years.  Things are looking promising for a very fine vintage.

On The Day You Were Born

October 6th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

On the day you were born the sun was shining.  You were not alone and you felt strong.  As you grew, life was fun and easy, without a care in the world.  You had everything you needed to grow and flourish.  You had many friends and close family around you and your life seemed happy.  Then things started to change.  You witnessed many changes in yourself and in those around you.  You felt less strong and more vulnerable.  There were many dangers along the way and sometimes simple luck determined survival.  Some of your friends were sheltered, supported, and made it through the storms, while others had none and vanished from sight.  There were times when the sun didn’t shine and the wind blew cold.  You witnessed disease and death, and you watched those around you – your friends and family – perish and you wondered “how will I survive?” but somehow you did.  You grew up beautifully and many envied you for this.  Somewhere towards the end you looked around at your world and didn’t know if you truly mattered.  Was it all in vain?  Was your life worth the struggle?  Then you saw that you were never alone.  You were part of a whole and connected to everything else.  In the end you knew that you did matter, and that you were exactly who you needed to be, not just for you but for the world around you.

Then your life was over.  Your body was cared for with loving hands.   The people who cared for you knew they had a responsibility to honor your beautiful life.  After a few years went by a glass was raised high and you were appreciated for everything you were and had become.  Your life was toasted by those that pondered the same way you did at life and wanted the same things you were searching for.  In the end, you were loved.

The life of a single grape.  The life of you.