The making of the wine is fairly straight forward but the selling is a full time job. Still have to discuss with wine makers on costs….so who knows. The woman who owns Silver Oaks recommended that we sell grapes the first few years…..same advise I got 2 weeks ago at a wine event. So….stay tuned. Of course the first year we will get between 25 and 50 cases (we hope) so most of that will go to friends and family and perhaps some wine competitions.
If we do make wine here are some thoughts on bottles/labels/corks.
Making wine – in previous posts you may have read that we are interviewing people to make or buy our grapes. Looks like they will come to Turtle Vines the end of June. Very excited to show off our work so far.
Bottles/corks/labels – below is a picture we saw of a turtle necklace. We are hoping to use this design for our label. In addition, we like the spray painted lables on bottles. Not traditional, but they look nice and you don’t have to worry about lables falling off. Lastly…..and certainly not traditional…..glass corks. I like the look of them and the wine will not get “corked”. Only issue is that the wine ages much slower as the air goes into the bottle about 10x slower than corks.
By the way….the picture above is from Sausalito where we sat the other night with a few glasses of wine after being in San Francisco.
We had our annual Summer Solstice party last weekend. It is our family Christmas since it is hard for all of us to get together in December.
I enlisted help from Clint and Linda to tie and cut the vines to 3’ so they start the process of growing trunks and getting set for next years first crop. They were a lot of help and we finished the first 20 rows of the vineyard in a little over an hour. Hopefully I’ll get some more help from Karina on Friday and Saturday!
Hopefully you can see that the vineyard is nicely mowed and weeded. Took a lot of work to get it looking nice for the party.
I know you probably can’t tell from the pictures….but this is a very exciting moment! Most of the vines are around 3.5’ tall……however some of them are 6’ tall. Since this is the second year, we are establishing a better root structure and also preparing the canes to bear fruit in 2012. So…..when the vine is around 4.5-5’ tall I’m cutting it back to 3’….as long as the trunk is #2 pencil thick. Yes, very technical. What this will do is shock the plant so that it will concentrate its growth to put out lateral growth. In addition it will grow a good root structure. Then in the fall I will do more pruning. Since our fruit wire is 36” tall, we will cut the trunk back to 30” to allow the canes room to grow to the fruit wire. We will also take off the leaves below the drip line…and then it will look like a grapevine. This will all take place in the winter while the plant is sleeping.
With this work……we should get around 0.5-1 ton of fruit next year….enough for 25-50 cases of Pinot noir. I’m sure all you readers are excited about drinking the fruit of my labor!!
Below are pictures before and after the pruning. You can see it started out around 5.5’ and ended at 3’ tall.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening at “Single Vineyard Night”, hosted by the Thomas George Winery. It was put on by the younger generation of winemakers/vineyard owners and the event was in their caves. If you have never been in a wine cave, it is a treat! We went to enjoy the wine and try and determine what to do with our grapes starting in 2012.
Well….we could just grow grapes and then sell them to a like minded winery to make wonderful wine. Sounds pretty easy…..but we are just starting out so we don’t have a reputation yet….except we are in the Russian River Valley. And of course…..we planted Pommard and 667 at the proper angle spaced densely to stress the vines and make intensely flavored wine….or that is the theory!
Or…..we could have someone help us make the wine and then sell it. If you are reading this…send a note and I can put you on the first allocation. The 2012 vintage will produce 25-50 cases. Enough for friends/family the first year but then it will peak at 250-300 cases for the 2015 vintage. Selling that much wine will take some effort…..good financially if it works out but a lot of work.
Maybe a combination of both? Who knows…..but with this evening and another event hosted by Justin Lattanzio that we are going to on June 11, 2011…..will have more information to give us a good direction to head. It would be nice to make that decision early….but with this economy, who knows.
Just thought I would give you a little update on the work….how many hours this little vineyard project is taking in it’s second year. In June I’ll be doing some pruning to increase the lateral growth in preparation for next year. Can’t wait…..not as much weeding and more technical work!
January 62 hours 66
February 6 0
March 4 0
April 32 18
May 47 24
June 36 23 (2 hours from Clint/Linda!!!)
Total 187 131
Doug is at 59%…..business plan is for 40%, so I’m doing OK so far. However, a lot of work is set for June….pruning, weeding, adding mulch/compost for weed control and to add organic matter to the soil.
Here is June so far:
June 2 – 2 hours weeding/thinning
June 4 – .25 hours pruning lesson from John Mason
June 6 – 4 hour pruning/weeding/weed whacking/plumbing front vineyard
June 7 – 2 hours plumbing front vineyard
June 8 – 7 hours weeding/weed whacking – 21 hours hired
June 11 – 3 hours piping/barking
June 12 – 2 hours barking
June 13 – 7.5 hours weeding/mowing/weed whacking/barking
June 17 – 1 hour pruning, 2 hours Clint/Linda pruning
June 20 – 1 hour pruning
June 24 – 1 hour pruning
June 29 – 3 hours pruning/mowing
June 30 – 2 hours pruning/mowing
May was an interesting month here in Sebastopol. Since I was under the weather early in the month….got a little behind. Just as I thought I was caught up and ready for the summer…..spring returns and we get a lot of rain….so back to being behind!!! We didn’t think it rained this much here. Up to 47” already this year….normally we got 12” in San Jose. Vines are looking good….soon I’ll cut them back to 30” so we can get good canes for next year’s first harvest. In case you don’t know…..the rebar is 3’ tall…..so most of the vines on the west end are 3.5 to 4’ tall. The biggest in the vineyard is 6’, I have to go cut that one very soon or it will be out of control.
By the way……I have noticed that the vines planted near the highway stakes are bigger. I think that is because of the extra heat that goes to the roots of those plants. (Highways stakes are the 6’ tall posts in the picture)
Anyway, here are my hourly totals for the month.
Totals for May – Doug….47.5 hours…..hired…..23 2/3 hours
I’ll do a little math Wednesday and figure out how many hours so far…..I’m sure not as many as established vineyards! Something to look forward to next year.
Just a quick post……2 crows were fighting and one died…..withing 10 minutes we had 15 Turkey Vultures in the vineyard. Nature is very efficient!