|Wednesday August 1, 2016
I have 8 employees. A few work the vineyard and two work on the wine and Catalina and Jesse do the tastings. Way back in the 90's and early 2000's I used to do all the tastings in the winery. This is my home. Jesse is a new employee. He was a Wine Club Member and when I saw he has a passion for wine like all of us, he was an easy hire..............We won't be harvesting today. Even though the samples taken will be early in the season, today is a big day. We will sample several sections of our white varieties. We maybe have 10 or more whites but over 25 blacks.........
Yes when I got here, the red ripe grapes were called Black. I guess it was because white grapes were lighter? OK I should be easy on those old fellows but I have to say most white grapes were golden to some pink and I never saw a red variety looking black.
Ponzo may be back in my life...........it will be fun
Monday August 8, 2016
Our sugar tests are coming in lower than we thought. It is early in the month of August so I am not surprised since it also has been cooler here for the last week. The Petite Sirah is about 15 sugar and the whites are about 21. Our Pinot for Red wine is showing in two sections at 20.5 and 23.2. We want 24+. As I have said in the past we also need fruit for our DC Fusion which will be like last year, a combination of one ton of low sugar 2016 grapes, three barrels of 2015 Zp2c and 65 cases of 2010 wine. We have decided to harvest Wednesday. We will first harvest about 1200 pounds of the Pinot Noir with the lowest sugar and about 1000 pounds of the Petite Sirah.
Catarino says there is too much crop on our Petite Sirah vines so after picking 1000 pounds Wednesday he will also drop another ton on the ground. We have no choice if we want to produce great fruit for our Petite Sirah wines. I will have more to say about what we will do on Thursday and Friday to ferment and blend our latest non vintage DC Fusion.
Back in 2007 I had trouble with fruit brought into custom crush for the Wine Guerrilla. The fruit was from the Ponzo Vineyard and was of very poor quality. Phil Ponzo is being sued by a family member and I am being called in to testify. I guess they are trying to prove he was not managing the vineyard well. It will be fun to testify in court for the first time.
Wednesday August 10, 2016
In my past life, I wanted to be a lawyer, and I could have been great BUT I hate tests so I would never have gotten there, but again I have many friends who are lawyers........I know I digress, but I have the right because this is my diary, take it or not.
HEY my two daughters and Pat put up with me. Everyone agrees who knows us, I am not like the three ladies.
I like stating my mind and usually say too much SO yesterday I had to go into court. Gee I have to state facts, easy. I was called in at 9 am and put on hold. Then we had to break for lunch at 12 and be back at 1:30 and still I heard I might get in to testify by 2 pm. OK, then I was told we would end the day at 2:50 PM. I guessed, I would be back today............but they said I would be out before 2:50. I did not believe it..........
Gee at 2 pm I was called in and the judge was hard on the lawyer who was asking me questions. I was told to answer yes or no or as little as possible. This is hard for me.........The plaintiff, great lawyer, who was asking me questions tried to get in that Pat, my wife was a very respected legal Secretary and worked for Ken James. The judge knew Ken. The judge said no that was not allowed. Stick to the facts.......long story
So I was on for only 20 minutes after waiting two days for one witness. Why was he so important and I was only there 20 minutes. Obviously there is more to this story. Before my appearance I was not allowed to know anything about the suit. I was told I could come back today and listen to other testimony but we are harvesting today.
So Catarino is out now picking Pinot and Petite Sirah. I will have more to report later.
3:00 Pm: This morning we harvested a little over half ton of Pinot Noir and a little under half a ton of Petite Sirah. The sugars came in higher than we expected. The Pinot in our least ripe area was about 21.5-22 and the Petite Sirah was about 17.5%. Last week both sections were about 1 to 2 percent less. We did shut off the water in both sections so that could have helped raise sugars. We have about two tons Pinot left for red wine in the South section with different soil. We want 24+ and we may have that ready by next Monday. We will do a sugar test on Friday. Also on Friday we will sugar test our white wine areas.
The overall sugar in the Pinot/PS mass came in at 20.5%, more than we want. Last year we harvested Zinfandel and Petite Sirah for our DC Fusion and the sugar was a little under 19%. Like last year we took the 1.1 tons of new young fruit and put the mass in three bins. These bins will hold about 3 barrels each, so right now we only have about 60 gallons potential in each fermentation bin. Tomorrow we will add a lot of yeast to each fermenter, about one pound in each. Usually only 6 ounces is enough for a one ton fermenter that holds about 3 barrels after pressing. Like last year we want a wine that is under 14% because some of our customers want less alcohol.
This year like last, on Saturday after the fermentation with all that extra yeast starts exploding with large bubbles, we will slowly add 65 cases of 2010 wine that has high acid and high alcohol. On Sunday we will slowly add three barrels of wine left from our recent vintage 2015 bottling, basically 2015 Zp2c. Obviously adding the finished dry 2010 and 2015 wine, the sugar after Sunday will be only about 5%. It should take another 5 days to finish to no sugar. After the first few days we will monitor the alcohol for the potential final alcohol of about 13.5%. We will then press into about 10 barrels. This will be our new non vintage DC Fusion.
Come to our party this weekend and empty some 2010 bottled wine in to our three fermenters. it will be fun.
Friday August 12, 2016
Catarino and crew just came in with many sugar tests. We have several white varieties we checked including Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and Chardonnay. They all came in around 22.5% which is right where we want it this year for our white wine blend. We are not going to put it in new barrels like last year and with lower sugar we should have an alcohol about 13%. Harvest is Monday!!
Also Catarino picked some Pinot from our ripest area which came in at 24.5%. We will be picking Monday!! The whites will be first.
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