Monday, January 31, 2011

Pre-season work in the vineyard

The job of pruning the vines this year was a long and hard one.  Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little considering I only had a couple of grape vines that had any decent growth last year.  In fact, there were only two vines to prune - a Cabernet Franc and a Mars vine.

I did it earlier this year because last year after I pruned I had a significant amount of sap bleed-out.  From what I've read this occurs if you prune too late because dormant vine has started "waking up."  This year I think I mitigated the issue.

I spent a little time this weekend planning out what I'm going to do this year in the vineyard.  I have decided that I'm going to replace the Syrah and Chardonnay vines.  The Chardonnay hasn't done well at all, and half of the Syrah got killed off by the harsh winter we had in 2009-2010.  I'm replacing them with Regent and Traminette, pending availability.  I have to wait a couple of weeks before I can order vines because we're closing on the house we're purchasing for my Mother-in-Law and all funds are allocated towards the purchase.  Regardless, most places won't even ship the vines until March.

One of the many things I have learned since the initial planning of the vineyard is that whites need to be sheltered more from the late afternoon sun.  As a result, I am going to plant the Regent at the top of the hill where the Chardonnay currently is and where it will get the most afternoon sun. The Traminette will replace the Syrah at the bottom of the hill.

The next maintenance to occur in the vineyard will be spraying the lime-sulpher spray.  I guarantee that you will not want to be hanging around in the backyard while this is happening!  The spray does wonders for disease prevention, but it smells horrible.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maintenance in the Winery

It has been a long time since I was down in the winery to do any wine-related work. I’ve been busy with the holidays, keeping the house clean while Kelly is going through chemo, and other house-related projects. Today Kelly practically ordered me to spend some time down the in our home winery, so I did.

I topped off the barrel containing the 2010 NC Syrah with some bottles of 2008 NC Syrah. This works out great as the 2010 needed more acidity and the 2008 had too much. It required three bottles of the 2008 to top off the 30-gallon barrel. I shouldn’t have let it go for so long. I need to do a better job staying on top of these things.

The 2009 Zinfandel in the 8-gallon barrel also required topping off. For that one I used a half of a gallon jug of a 50/50 blend of the 2009 Zinfandel and 2008 Syrah. The other half gallon I put into two wine bottles and corked them.

Another project I finally finished was the bottling the Howling Good Red we blending a while back. It is so much easier to bottle things with the Enolmatic we purchased last fall. The batch yielded about 25 bottles. I still need to label them.

Finally, I spent time organizing things and labeling carboys that I hadn’t labeled yet.

I will probably bottle the Traminette wine next, maybe sometime mid-to-late January. After that I’ll probably be bottling the 2010 California Viognier. After all, I have to get the whites bottled in time for spring!