Monthly Archives: January 2013

Soil Sampling

Soil Sampling
Ever since we planted our two clones of Pinot noir, Pommard and 667, they have grown at different rates. The Pommard is wonderful but the 667 is weak. I have heard from many growers that the 667 is just slower to take hold, yields a little less than the Pommard but makes great wine. I want to make sure it is not the soil, so I took 10 samples in the vineyard and sent them off to A & L labs. Will get results next week. Don’t know what I’m actually hoping for…

2012 Work Hours

CropJanuary 2 – 3 hours pruning and 6 hours hired pruning
January 3 – 3 hours pruning
January 7 – 3 hours pruning – Done 58 hours total without counting chipping
January 9 – 1 hour tying
January 10 – 2 hours tying
January 22 – 7 hours hired tying
January 23 – 2 hours tying
January 29 – 3 hours soil sampling/piping and 7 hours hired tying
January 30 – 1 hour gopher/weed
January 31 – 2.5 gopher/tying
February 1 – 1.5 hours tying
February 2 – 1 hour gopher/tying
February 3 – 1 hours gopher/tying
February 4 – 8 hours hired weeding/wine/irrigation + 6 hours weeding/gophers/wine

24 hours tying total vs 20 hours in plan
58 hours pruning vs 80 hours planned

Next big project – disbudding

Gopher Count

Ret TailGophers started showing a few days ago (late January)…so time for a little trapping and hawk feeding. Have to get them now through end of March as they have babies in the spring.

January 30 – 1
January 31 – 2
February 1 – 0
Feb 2 – 0 (one was injured)
Feb 3 – 0
Feb 5 – 0
Feb 6 – 1
Feb 18 – 1 (Only 1 spot left at this time)
March 15 – 1 small one…they must have mated in February…bad!
March 25 – 4 – new record, with 4 traps
March 27 – 1…1Q – 11
April 1 – 1
April 8 – 1
April 16 – 3
A little vacation from gophering
May 3 – 1 (very big in section 1)
May 31 – 1 drowned in the pool, yes it really happened

Innerstave or Xtraoak

Innerstave or xtraoakHow do you get “Oak” flavor in your wine when you don’t have and expensive and highly variable French Oak Barrel?

Our wine is stored in an environmentally friendly, polyethylene, oxygen permeable flex tank. This is a fairly new technology in Napa and Sonoma but is widely used in Australia and New Zealand, especially for white wines. Besides saving trees and saving storage space, this allows me to carefully control the oak flavoring with high quality, toasted French oak adjuncts and avoids the random flavors and possible pathogens from commonly purchased “used” barrels. It also allows us to make more consistent wine from year to year.

So, as we are engineers, we purchased oak balls and squares from 2 vendors in medium and medium + toast (how long they blacken the outside). Next we are soaking them in vodka and then in a few weeks we will taste them to determine which to purchase and put in our wine. Lastly, we will then only use 1/4 of what is recommended, let it soak for a month and evaluate how it reacts with the wine. You can always add more, but you can’t take the flavor away!!!

Tying up next years crop !!!

Tied VinesLast year I tied up the trunks of the vines to the rebar and had a few plants that I could leave canes. Most of them were very short and they did not need tying to the wire. THIS YEAR is much different. Probably 70% of the vines will end up with canes (arms that are grown back each year) so instead of only 4 buds per vines I will probably average at least 12 buds on healthier plants to a maximum of 16 buds. So…what does that mean. I’m hoping for 3-4 times as much tonnage, so instead of 1300 pounds, I’ll have 2 to 2.5 tons…eventually 5 tons in two more years.

Just a reminder…last year in February I guessed 1400 lbs. and missed by 100 lbs., so I’m hoping this guess is a good one…of course the growing season in 2012 was the best in years!!!

The pictures below show a close-up of a good vine (on left) that is tied to the wire and a vine that did not grow enough (on right) that is still a stick and only tied to the rebar. The one of the left will produce 3 lbs. and on the right only about 0.5 lbs.

First Unbiased Opinions

C & A first sipWell, I have been tasting my 2012 Turtle Vines Pinot every time I sulfur, but today was the first time I had an outside opinion. Joey, Cody and Andrea tasted it on Saturday and they liked it! So happy…they tasted the “Free Run”. The color was wonderful, a nice maroon. Taste was smooth but obviously young. It does not have any oak flavor yet or been mixed with the “Pressed”. I think this will be wonderful wine.First sip