Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Picking Earthquake Block Pinot!

The fruit in our single-clone bottling of Earthquake Block looked great as we picked it yesterday!

So far the yields are measly, although the fruit is wonderful -- fresh and full of flavors.  And we've been able to pick at rather low sugars with very good acids. The dream of a wine grower!

From here you can see how this came to be called Earthquake Block: the ravine in the middle that we covered before planting gave way after a big storm and it looked like an earthquake!

The fruit looked beautiful as it was being harvested

The views from the Earthquake Block are stunning, while the grapes are meticulously cleaned of leaves and twigs at the bins 

On the right, the new compost pile being created with pomace and stems from the red grapes plus saw dust. The grey pile to the left is ready to use

We knew the grapes were ready to pick because Chico & Bonita were devouring them!
Chico is starting to take short walks on leash!  Mom took both of us to the Earthquake Block so we could taste the grapes, since we LOVE eating them! And when we do, the team knows it's time to pick...
Tomorrow we move on the the Doña Margarita Vineyard to harvest -- it's so much fun running in that vineyard, can't wait! But sadly, Chico will have to stay in Mom's office  :-(
After that, the only fruit left to be harvested will be the Chardonnay -- which is still at least a week away from being ripe. With the rain forecast for next week, we are lighting candles to Saint Peter praying for it to skip our vineyard!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Harvest has started in the Don Miguel Vineyard! But Chico can't see it...

Harvest has started at the Don Miguel Vineyard! It's so sad that Chico can't come along with Mom and me, since his leg needs to rest. He looks so sad every time Mom and I leave the house!

On Wednesday we picked the Stony Block at the crack of dawn! The sunrise was magnificent

day picking
Yesterday we picked the steepest slope of the Don Miguel Vineyard. Hard work indeed!

night picking
 And today we picked at night for the first time!

We started Tuesday, September 20 -- how exciting! First fruit to go was the block below our house, which was the first one to become Biodynamic and always ripens earliest.
Then Wednesday was the Stony Block, our single-clone bottling of Dijon 115. Yesterday we picked the steepest block of the vineyard, planted with the Pommard clone.
Only today were we able to harvest at night, since the other blocks of Pinot Noir are too steep and we'd worry about the safety of the team. But night picking is of course most desirable, as the fruit comes cool and at its best. 

We went to the Doña Margarita Vineyard in Sonoma Coast yesterday -- the Pinot Nor is getting ripe very quickly but definitely not there yet.  With the nice weather this week, we feel pretty sure we'll be picking next week. And that Mother Nature will spare us from the chance of rain announced for this weekend!

perfect dmr pinot
Some vines are perfectly balanced with great looking bunches, like this one -- but others have very little fruit

not ready pinot
Bonita did not want to eat the grapes -- that tells us the fruit for sure is not ripe yet! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting closer to Havest!

The Pinot Noir grapes are now mature and many are looking great, like these -- and tasty, too!

The Chardonnay is not quite ripe yet, although the fruit is very balanced and flavorful. But still too sour!

Chico has been looking very sad since his leg operation -- and hated to have it all bandaged!
All of a sudden, with the heat wave of this past weekend, we finally can start harvest -- that's so exciting!  We hope this will be one of those rare years when we can pick with full flavors and low sugars. We'll keep you in the loop -- but now we have a lot to do, getting ready for the first day of harvest tomorrow!!!

Unfortunately Chico is not going to be able to run around chasing the tractor nd the pickers -- he had surgery on his leg a week ago and needs to sit still for four weeks!! Can you imapgine what torture that is for him??

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Still probably a couple of weeks away from harvest... Some Pinot Noir blocks are ahead of others, but all the Chardonnay is still way behind. And this must have been the worst year ever to have an organic vineyard! We don't remember ever the powdery mildew being this bad. But as far as organic veineyards are concerned, we are probably the cleanest one in the region!

The Swan clone is always one of the first to ripen. Now it's fully colored!

The Pommard clone, on the other hand, is among the latest picked

What we decided to do is to make a pass the day before harvest and pull all the leaves around the grapes, so as to expose the fruit and be able to remove any mildewed clusters and berries. Right now we don't want to do that, since the fruit would be exposed to the sun rays and likely to get sunburned. It's always a fine line between avoiding mildew as well as sunburn - it is often very difficult, if not impossible!

The mildew spores are dead and will not affect the
rest of the clusters - but these must come out

We have build birdhouses to encourage them to ecologically balance the vineyard - this one had eggs just a few days ago!

We love to fight for fun...

... but we also can look like we really get along!