Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day 2009

I have uploaded the rest of the photos from the Crush, Pressing, and Racking.

Cheers! M


Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the Barrel!!

Ok, I forgot to keep posting during the fermentation - so a quick catch-up.
Brix was 24.9 on day 1 - after crush. It took about 9 days to get just below 0 brix. I was able to punch down the cap on my grapes a couple of times in that period. I spent a good deal of time at the winery between crush and press, learning the ropes and lending a hand where I could. It was really fun watching the other folks crush their grapes, however my group was definitely more picky about which grapes to keep. Without a second sorting table we had to be right the first time.

Ok, so now we've reached press time. I was curious about how the free run juice would taste, but after putting my nose on the cap the aromas were great. I picked up roasted coffee and chocolate - very pleasing to me!! We pumped the free run juice into a brand new bladder press, and then dumped the skins in. I ran a soft press so as to avoid harsh skin tannins. I really want my wine to be approachable on the front end and not need several years to "calm" down. So we pumped the juice into a holding tank allowing it to settle for about 12 hours. The next step was racking into the barrel.

I chose 100% new french oak, a DAMY barrel. The medium toast in the barrel has an amazing smell. It reminds me of my grandparents house when I was very young - aromas of old wood, varnish, pipe tobacco, and bonfires in the fall. I will start barrel tasting at about 4 months to determine when I need to rack into a neutral barrel. We started secondary fermentation or Malolactic in the barrel. This will change the harsh malic acid (think tart green apples) into the softer lactic acid (think silk or licking cotton) for better mouth-feel. Not sure how long the change will take.

I will add the pressing and racking pictures soon.

Cheers, M

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crush 2009 photos

Hey ya'll check out these pics from the Crush! Video coming soon.



CRUSH 2009!

So it was 24 hours ago that some of my closet friends and family arrived at Vintners Own in Houston to sort grapes. I was worried about the grapes because of the rain that decided to show up 1 week prior to harvest, but all in all it wasn't too bad (the vineyard should have done a better job dropping fruit). We had 8 people on the sorting table, the more eyes and hands the better, and everyone did a superb job of culling any berries or clusters that showed rot. I spent the 1st half under the de-stemmer pulling debris that made it through - need to keep a clean tank! I switched out the other half and sorted on the line, props to those that were on the line the whole time, that'll kill your back. It took about 2 hours to process what turned out to be around 2 tons of grapes to get a really beautiful ton for fermenting. Look thru the pics and you can see just how much work is going into this barrel!

For the detail minded - these grapes basically underwent a cold-soak on their trip from Napa to Houston via reefer truck at roughly 40^F. They arrived Tuesday around 2pm and we sorted at 8pm. The fermentation is roughly 90% whole berry and 10% crushed in an open top tank. Brix was down at harvest because of the rain so alcohol will be lower in the end - which is fine with me - it shouldn't be the main feature. I will post updates on the ferment status and what we are doing along the way.

I'm very proud of my crew and got some great props from the owner and his son (wine-maker). We were tedious and choosy in our grape selection, if I didn't know better I would have said the grapes were double sorted - the final product was clean and beautiful. Now the science begins... Stay tuned.

Cheers, M
pics and videos posted soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Almost time for Crush

Well It's been awhile since I last posted - had to go back to my day job and earn a living. Well as my last post said 14 days it has obviously been longer than that. The current news is that it will be the end of October. The grapes are hanging a bit longer this year and a heavy rain this week will slow things down. It shouldn't hurt the thicker skinned Cab, but I'm a bit nervous about fungus and berry rot. If you click on the link, NapaVintners ,you can read the overview of this years harvest notes - 2009 looks to be a stellar year. Well that's all for now - I will start posting daily when crush starts.

Salud, M

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

14 days and counting...

Well it looks like about 14 days to go before the grapes arrive in Houston. I'm gettin' excited and nervous - this is a damn big and expensive undertaking! The paperwork alone is more than I thought. I've got my event shirt designs into the printer and will have them for the Crush party - white on black - looks good. I'm going to make company shirts a little further down the road - long-sleeve, pink for the ladies, and Kristin wants a hoodie!

Cheers, M

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Grapes - they are a commin'

So I have been told the grapes are 2-3 weeks from harvest! Brix (sugar measure) is running between 22.5 and 24 right now. Once harvested they will be overnighted by truck at 40^F to Vintners Own in Houston. Then crush time. I'm also working on having some shirts made for the crush party - I'll have some left over - let me know if you want one.

Salud, M