Monday, July 12, 2010

Trying to be a Country Girl but...

So I didn't grow up in a large city like Chicago or Los Angeles but I certainly wasn't a farm girl from Wisconsin. Don't ask me how but I forget I live in the country. What makes me realize I am in the country or on a ranch now are the snake sightings! For all those lovers of snakes, please don't take offense as I understand their importance in the world and even more in the country but I can't say I want to see them during my walks.

First sighting was a very large rattle snake not too far from our blackberry bushes. Sunning itself and relaxing until Dutchess decided to have a sniff. needless to say but I freaked out. Poor Dutchess heard a blood curdling scream and high tailed it home. Snake knew we were there after that. It coiled up and I took off! I went and got a shovel (that is what everyone tells me to carry on my walks). Started to return to "chop the head off" and decided that was a very bad idea. Knowing my luck, I would miss and then I would have a very angry snake.

Moral of the story and walking in the vineyard-CARRY A SHOVEL AND DON'T WALK BY A DRIED UP CREEK!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life during the rains touched on after the rain blues have past

the sentiment from many people has been that I have severely neglected my blog. Boy that was a big understatement. I can honestly say that it wasn't intentional. The hard rains of the winter had me thrown off my A game and the lack of sun didn't make my disposition very rosy. My apologies for my neglect and I promise it won't happen again... well, if Mother Nature keeps the sun away for that long again I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll just post videos of the rain and my winemakers standing in the rain bottling... won't be the most glamorous posting and unfortunately, you'll see the frustration from those of us who need and crave sun.

Now on to more fun subjects. THE RAIN IS GONE. We hope to not see it again until after the last fruit is brought in from the vineyards this harvest. The rain still lingered as bloom approached but there was minimal shatter for us-a little in the Sauvignon Blanc block. Just a quick basic explanation of shatter for those who may not understand. The vines flower and each of the tiny flowers represent the possibility for a single grape. If the flower shatters, there is no chance for a grape to form on the cluster from that flower. No vineyard likes shatter in the cluster but we came through the rain better than some. Some of my southern friends in the valley had their Cabernet blocks have quite a bot of shatter.

We've gone through 2 different bottling sessions since I last wrote on the blog. I must say Kerry and Jim did a great job in icky wet conditions. I must share one story from our December 09 bottling. let me set the tone-Kerry is running on fumes and I am way past sleep deprived. I am asleep finally and the call comes at midnight-7 hours before bottling is to begin. Kerry realized we did not have our crew to work the line as cases were coming down the belt. Don't even ask us how we both missed it but we had a change in staff and that one slipped through the cracks. He was a bit panicked as he did not want to delay bottling as wines were great and ready to go. Neither of us had Norma's number to check about the crew. My simple response was "How many people do you need? Don't worry about it-I'll have people ready to go at 7am." With him being convinced and told we would be ready, I had to solve the problem. Have to love my friends as the ones in the area received called, texts and e-mails at 12:10am. We rallied some people and Kerry and I were ready to stack cases if we couldn't get Norma. Thankfully, Norma and her crew could step in when called-Kerry and I would have been in bad shape hauling cases anyway as neither of us slept the night before. We laugh about it now as we couldn't believe we missed something so simple-you can bet that won't be a mistake we repeat!

Holidays came and went and Dutchess was still able to drop a few more pounds. Down 10 lbs and counting. Not bad for a Lab who didn't want to run in the rain. She just found the biggest puddle and laid down in it every day.

That's the quick version of the last 8 months-I'll fill in a bit more over the next two weeks while I give you some current update of action in the vineyards and on the crush pad.