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.
pics and videos posted soon.