Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Harvest 2008

Good Morning- another day of harvest! Harvest started for me on Aug 8th- so if I am sounding a little weary, you would be correct.

This is a tough time- trying to keep track of all of the wines that are fermenting, finished fermenting, need to go to barrel, racking, ML inoculations, as well as more grapes coming in that need to be processed and begin their life change to wine.

It is also evaluation time for those wines that have completed their journey, specifically the ones that will become sparkling wines. Blending is already taking place for these wines as well. I have to say so far these wines are turning out well- good year for sparklers.

The cool weather has created a lull in the amount of grapes coming in, but I know that the next rush is coming, especially if the days warm up. Right now, the grapes are enjoying the perfect weather to bring about real maturity. But they are also on the edge of being tapped for energy for the season. Leaves are starting to drop signaling that the season is coming to a close- not full on yet, again due to the weather.

Back to the winery- Cheers,
The Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harvest, Harvest, and more Harvest

I am five weeks into harvest and it looks like the next big rush of grapes is about to begin. Since I work with sparkling wine as well as still, it can result in a very long harvest and usually in two big groups. First is the Pinot noir for Sparkling, then Chardonnay. Short lull, then some Sauvignon blanc, Pinot noir, and smatterings of Chardonnay for still wine. Now the rush is beginning for Zin, Cabernet, some Petite sirah, and some other fun grapes that are going to be new to me this year like Orange Muscat. I love the wine from this grape, but this will be the first time I will ge to work with it. One of the great things about working in a Custom crush winery-lots of new experiences!

Saturday I will be picking my Tres Palmeras vineyard- I will be sure to take pics, especially since I was not able to with the Paso Robles grapes. By the way, these grapes are perking along quite well-which I could share the smells, one of the many things that makes harvest special.

And it is not just the fermentations; it is the smell of the earth early in the morning in the vineyards, the smell of the grapes in the bins, the tractors, and just the smell of Fall- hard to explain unless you have done it or are in it. This is the romance part that gets the press over what it really takes to make wine. But it is also the part that keeps me from remembering how much hard work it takes to make a bottle of wine-

It's 6:30a, time to get back to the winery,
Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tempranillo Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Mustang Winemakers grapes! Keep your eyes open along the 101 from Paso Robles to Hopland for the white half ton bins with the seahorses on them-you will see my esposo driving the grapes the 5-6 hour drive up.

I will take pics and post them over the weekend. Then the real fun begins- crush and destem to a stainless steel tank. Then cold soak for a couple of days. Next is the yeast - T73 a Valencia strain that works nicely for me. A week of great smelling fermentation. When finished the juice will be drained and the skins press lightly to about 1.2 bar depending on the taste and mouthfeel.

So, let the games begin!
The Mustang Winemaker- happy, happy, happy

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 Harvest Update- Coral Mustang and More

Well, it seems like forever since I blogged!
Just got in from another day of harvest with my day job at Rack and Riddle. So far things are going well. Crop is light, but the fruit coming in looks good.

Friday will be my second harvest of my own grapes at R&R- yippee! Vista Creek Vineyards grapes clocked in at 23.5 this last weekend, so Friday I am calling them in. This is always an exciting time for me- a new vintage. Even though I have worked with this vineyard for almost 5 years now, it is like a new start every year.

I hope to bring in a Russian River vineyard the following week- a new vineyard for me that I have been watching for four years and patiently waiting for. My own Tres Palmeras vineyard should be ready next week as well. This will be the third year that I have gotten these grapes and this looks like it will be a good one.

I will be trying out some new barrels on this vintage-experimentation is good. Since I am working with several clients I have had the opportunity to try some barrels that I might not otherwise have been able to try out. Nice when you can see how they work on other wines before you try them on your own!

I have gotten a little time to do some phone video'ing and when I learn what I need to do to download them, I will be posting them- hopefully this weekend.

The weather has been perfect for the grapes- a few HOT days thrown in, which gets everyone moving wondering if the vines that go into shutdown during those hot days will recover. With the drought conditions, this can be real concern. A lot of watering going on.

Time to get some shuteye- 5a comes early,
The Mustang Winemaker, Penny

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