Thursday, August 30, 2012

Getting closer to harvest!

The weather has been beautiful and it looks like harvest could be just a week away! That means we get to eat the grapes during our vineyard walks -- yumm! Actually, they're not as sweet as we like them but we can't help ourselves to munch on them already. We've soooo much been looking forward to it!

Gearing for harvest means a lot of activity in the vineyard and also in the cellar -- getting new equipment like tanks, tractors, lights for night harvesting, an additional forklift, and also healthy drinks & lunches for our team! 

 In our 'Stony Block' the grapes are almost ready -- Chico devoured quite a few! Bonita is more picky & thought they were not ripe enough
We loved driving our new UTV, this fancy John Deere Gator! Tony taught us how to drive it so we can help him at harvest ... 

On the sad side, we have been having quite a problem with gophers this season. Being organic, we cannot use poison (and we wouldn't use poison anyhow, as we feel it's not the right thing to do for the land) but only traps, which take a lot longer to place and collect the pesky animals that devour our vines -- and the workload has been so high that the vineyard team couldn't take the time to put the traps in the Doña Margarita Vineyard -- and we lost 12 vines in a week!

 Here's one of the dead vines from the gophers. It's so sad! We saw the vineyard team feel really terrible to see their work destroyed like that
  You can see here, right, that the gophers ate the roots clean -- wish we could have gotten to those mean animals and killed them ourselves!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Véraison is here!

Some Pinot Noir vines of the Swan clone 
are almost totally colored!

Finally, the long awaited véraison has arrived; that's when the red grapes turn dark and the white grapes become soft and translucent. The season is definitely behind, although not as much as last year. And the weather is beautiful right now, sunny and warm but not beyond the mid-90s. 

We are anxiously awaiting the grapes to ripen, so we can munch on them while walking in the vineyard with Mom! On this vineyard walk we tried a few of the red grapes, but no way -- they are far from being ripe.

With the arrival of véraison, the powdery mildew risk disappears -- which makes us very happy. Now it is botrytis we have to fear, but as long as the weather stays nice and warm we should not have any problems. This could indeed be a great vintage!

I was not at all interested in the Chardonnay grapes -- they are just starting to soften up and turn translucent, which is the beginning of véraison for the whites.
And I was totally uninterested in the Albariño grapes -- I wouldn't even look at them! Those haven't yet begun véraison and are still hard as rocks.