We have about 2 weeks until the nets go up and we have a lot of work to do. Last week we started thinning some fruit that I didn’t think would ripen in time and we will finish that in a few days. Next, we will do a second pass to ensure the right amount of leaves have been removed to enhance the flavor of the grapes. We also will tuck the vines in the wires one more time and spray with potassium bicarbonate to hopefully eliminate the possibility of bunch rot. Then the nets go up and we stress the vines by reducing the water and hopefully mid September we have almost 4 tons of Pinot noir.
As soon as veraison is complete, I will take a pH reading on the grapes to see if the improvements we made last year helped to make the grapes more acidic. Let’s hope as it will make wine making much easier.
I have not posted in a while, so I’ll give you a little update on how our 2013 Pinot Noir crop is shaping up.
Three weeks ago we finished veraison so the nets went up to prevent the birds from getting our crop. Only took 5.5 hours this year top put them up…better than 9 hours last year.
Sunday Joey and I took brix (sugar) readings throughout the vineyard. As expected the vines closest to the house averaged 20.4 and the ones furthest away were at 19.3. We expect to pick when the brix reach 23…so around September 16th!
Now the fun part…as you can see from the picture, we bought a small bladder press. The capacity is 42 gallons, or enough for 1/2 ton of fermented Pinot Noir, or around 400 pounds of Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, we bought 2 thirty gallon breathable tanks for aging, and some 5, 3 and 1 gallon glass containers. Next up is to get a destemmer and a few smaller items and we will be set to make wine this year!
Just walked outside and noticed we have started veraison, where the pinot grapes turn from green to a very dark purple. This means the countdown to put up the nets and harvest has started!!!
Everything this year is ahead of last year and veraison is no different. Last year it was July 21st and this year it is July 8th, so I’m expecting harvest somewhere between the 10th and 15th of September.
What do I have to do between now and harvest?
– Continue to spray for botrytis and powdery mildew until the nets go up
– Final pass on shoot positioning, leafing and drop fruit
– Design net tool and test
– Put up the nets around Aug 1st
– FIND Winery to buy grapes!!!
OK….so we finished the harvest and made wine….done yet. Nope, we had 3 miles of bird net that is 17 feet across to take in from the vineyard. Don’t know the official procedure, but we put the bags in a recycle bin, took off the nets from the vines, pulled them tight on the ground and then rolled the bin around and stuffed them in the bag. Each bag is about 100 pounds. Took us 24 hours! We had to finish by Sunday as it was supposed to rain Monday-Wednesday and they were on the ground and would have been full of mud. We finished, but you can see Joey was dead tired when it was over. Next year, I’m hoping to take them up the day before harvest so we can enjoy the fall colors on the leaves.
PS This next week I’m going to start pruning for next year.
Time to net….can’t believe it has been 4 years in the making, but our first harvest is almost here and we want to protect it, so we purchased 12500’ of netting (not enough) and netted 70 of the rows so the birds won’t get the fruit. We hired a friend/management company, Carmine Indindoli, who has a motorized tool to net. It took them almost 5 hours with 4 men to get it 90% done. The hardest part is we have 84 rows, with many of them small. The turns are the worst part of netting as you have to tie the nets so you don’t trip over them.
As the guys were leaving, they gave me some tips in the vineyard……I missed to many “doubles”, on the weak plants I should have left only 2 or 3 buds instead of 4, the far side of the vineyard was not getting enough water….but all in all looked OK for one person doing it who is “learning”.