By now, our friends and family should know that if they are going to visit in September, we are going to put them to work in the vineyard. This year, our daughter-in-law Karina Aldredge was here designing our Zen garden when suddenly our sugars spiked and the flavor were perfect, so we needed to harvest the grapes for our estate Pinot Noir. So me, Joanne, Karina and our friend Joel picked Wednesday September 5th.
We couldn’t get the crew to do the major harvest until Friday night. Only 8 guys showed up (instead of the 13 they promised us) from 7PM to midnight (wearing head lamps) and we were able to get a second small crew to show up at 5AM the next morning to finish. I was working the entire time – hard work. All told, we picked for Hanzell 4.43 tons! Then the following morning, Joanne and I went around and picked the grapes they missed or dropped. I guess it’s hard to see in the dark since we found over 100 more pounds. We added these little jewels to our estate Turtle Vines wine as “whole clusters” to get some tannic flavors from the stems.
Then, exhausted, after working almost non stop for more than 24 hours, I had to drive a trailer full of grapes to Sonoma for Hanzell Vineyards Sabella Pinot Noir.
This was the biggest and most beautiful harvest we have ever had – almost 5 tons!
I will announce the final numbers and the winners of our “guess the date and the number of pounds” contest in the next day. A big thanks to Karina and a warning to Vaughn Aldredge that we will coincidentally be pressing the grapes on the very day he is going to be here for his conference in Berkeley and visit to Sebastopol so bring something purple to wear
PS A special thanks to Joanne for taking the wonderful pictures and documenting this wonderful event!
A week ago on Sunday 6/11/17 we were thinking that June has been a cool month and it looked line rain. Well, later in the afternoon we had hail! This is not an unusual occurrence in many parts of the country, but for us in Russian River Valley, we don’t even get much rain in June.
Now a week later we are having a heat wave. It was 97 yesterday and will be 96 today. The next 5 days look to be 96, 89, 92, and 95!!! We don’t get this kind of heat in August.
So, is the vineyard OK? So far…the picture below shows we still have green grass between the rows. It is looking to be a good year!
Just so happens I was speaking to someone this last week about climate change and the subject of “The earth is cooling” from the 70’s came up. So I decided to do a little research and looks like those research papers assumed we would increase sulfurs in the air by 4X. But…we changed regulations and the greenhouse gases have taken over…so, I do believe in climate change and now can understand the “cooling” argument from the 70’s. Check out my link above for a little information.
All of our 2013 wine is now set for the winter. The Pinot Noir is undergoing malolactic fermentation and probably won’t finish for at least a month or longer depending on the temperature of the garage. The Sauvignon Blanc is finishing primary fermentation and we will introduce malolactic bacteria in a few weeks when we rack a third time.
So…31 cases of Pinot Noir (we sold 2.1 tons of grapes) and 4.7 cases of Sauvignon Blanc!
From bud break until April 15th we all hold our collective breath here in Russian River Valley hoping that we won’t have a hard freeze that will damage our small shoots. That would be very sad. With not much rain since December 2012, the warm 2013 spring like weather and my decision to prune early, our first bud break was 3 weeks earlier than last year. This time next week most of my vines will have small shoots that hold our crop for the fall. If I get a hard freeze, it will be a very small crop…hope for warm nights!
Pictured above was this mornings fog covering Turtle Vines. So romantic and a welcome sight. If you don’t know, if the sky is clear then it will be cold…but if we have fog it does not normally drop below 40 degrees.
Last night we went to San Francisco to see our Nephew’s showing of portraits at the Lexington Bar. He had a great turn-out and we were very happy to see Cody and Andrea. In addition, Joey took the picture below of the Golden Gate Bridge as the fog was rolling in the bay. If you have never been there to see it, quite amazing!