Monthly Archive for August, 2010

The Pinot Noir Today 8.27.10


The Pinot is looking good – It’s going to be late but the quantity and quality look good. David ran a rough test and it is still only at 17 degrees brix – we generally pick in the neighborhood of 26. The nets protect from birds but not from wasps. Wasps generally suck the grape dry and there is little probability of inducing rot – birds are sloppier.
These are two images taken today, one shows a little bit of damage, both can be enlarged by clicking.

Final Bottling


Winemaker Bruce McGuire, shown here, is in the last stages of bottling before being overwhelmed by the harvest. Bruce is filtering Chardonnay. The wine has been cooled to 30F to crystallize the tartrates that are naturally part of the wine. The filtering is to remove the tartrates as well as any suspended solids that are still there.

The cooling requires about two weeks and once the wine is stable, that is the tartrates have crystallized, it is passed through a diatomaceous filter. Diatomaceous earth consists of ‘fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae’ (Wikipedia) and is universally used in the wine industry. After filtering, the wine will be allowed to warm up, and at bottling will pass through a finer membrane filter calibrated at absolute .45 microns.

This is a procedure we use for all white wines and very rarely for reds. Reds are chilled, as well, but are given more time to settle and the resulting clean wine can be bottled without filtration. Red wine is more complex and passing through a filter may damage the wine and its more nuanced flavors.

New Netting Application

(Click image to enlarge)

We are experimenting with a new concept for netting. Instead of using large nets which cover several rows at a time, are difficult to install and remove, we are using netting which covers only the fruit area and is applied to both sides of the vine. It installs very quickly using a three man crew and an ATV.

Removing should be just as easy since the net doesn’t cover the vine it won’t get entangled with growing canes. There is one dark cloud, however, since it fits tightly against the vine some of the fruit is pressed against the mesh. The question then is, will the birds realize this and pick off the available fruit or, is the netting sufficient deterence, and fly off elsewhere.

Wine Club BBQ August 7, 2010

(Click images to enlarge)


Pinot Noir Safely Behind Nets

(Click image to enlarge)

The New Yorker Magazine has an article about the killing of 1 billion, yes billion, birds annually in Mediterranean countries – Italy, Sardinia, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and others – out of a migratory population of approximately 6 billion.

Migratory birds protected by European Union laws – all the above are members – but due to poor enforcement and out of respect for local custom and culture the killing continues. For many it is simply a blood sport, for others it is a business. Song birds, captured on glue sticks, are sold to restaurants and individuals, cooked and served very much like buffalo wings.

The slaughter is indiscriminate. This wholesale killing is putting many species on the endangered list. Since there is no limit or season many are shot on their migration northward where they go to breed.

This very much parallels the fisheries of the Mediterranean – over fished, with many varieties, once plentiful, now endangered.

There is a lesson here and I hope we are learning from it.

8/3/10 Netting the Pinot Noir

(Click images to enlarge)