Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grape Harvest Over?

The grape vines think it is!
This is what the vineyards are looking like now, getting ready for the big sleep of winter. There is still a little green, but for the most part the reds and yellows are kickin' in. Where I am in Hopland there is another color- brown- due to the frost damage that happened here after the vines were already putting out their crop. Mother Nature was tough this year on growers. For the first two months of harvest I was getting the phone calls of "well, thought I was going to have 50 tons, only have 10"- happened across the board with large and small. There are some small wineries that didn't have grapes to bring in.

Hopland is in Mendocino County, California. The smoke here was horrendous with the fires that were happening north of us- settling into the valleys. I have to admit, when I first heard the words 'smoke taint' - I poo-poo'd it as another ploy for some kind of wine services. But now I have seen it first hand- it does exist! It is interesting how it has exibited itseld in different varities. In some wines it is a beautiful smoky oak, in others a burnt rubber that can also be found in some french oak barrels. There has been a running 'joke' that there will not be the need for as much oak- between the smoke taint and the lack of grapes there may be some truth to this.

On a different note- I had a suggestion form a fellow vintner to promote the seahorse. I love seahorses- they are fascinating creatures! I have my seahorse logo now featured on logo wear at CafePress- go to
For every shirt, hat, whatever, I will be donating $2.00 to Project Seahorse ( This is a great organization dedicated to the preservation of seahorses and their habitat. Some of you know that my first major in college was marine biology. I went a different course, but my heart is still with the ocean.

Time to get back to fermenting wine, but dreamin' seahorses,
The Mustang Winemaker

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