Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In the Vineyard

Forgot my camera and thought it no big deal. The fields have been harvested, even the stubble is getting cut as neighbors are making hay and collecting bales. It's barren and, I thought, not as pretty as usual. Then, this morning, the sun came up shining on a beautiful red hawk sitting atop one of the vineyard posts. Below the very still hawk, there were pheasants all over the place. So many of them! No camera. Bummer.

I have never before tested for brix levels and ph levels ahead of harvest. So, today I ran samples in to the lab and took out the instruments to do brix and TA myself. The syrah seems close to ready, but my tests show 20.5 brix and 10 TA...still a couple weeks away. The cab is still at least weeks away and maybe more...worrisome that weather may not support the late harvest season this year.

Everything about making this wine is intimidating to me more than I can express. So much love has gone into the process...I had better not foul things up!

Hours later, the results are in. My brix measurements were not too bad. I came in .3 lower than the lab. With brix at 20.8 and ph at 3.1, we are still a couple weeks out from harvest and we need a bit of Indian summer to help things along.

The stars are wonderful tonight. After seeing the crystal clear sky, I turned out all interior lights to star gaze in darkness. (It is perfectly amazing to recognize how even one electric light will wipe out half the stars that come into view. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could put together "dark nights" where the city lights are shut off to let in the starlight.) From Grape Hill, the effects of so-called "light pollution" are shocking...each urban area glows in the distance and the stars are washed out all around the lighted areas.

When I was going around collecting berries from all the grape vines for the test samples I came across a pile of pheasant feathers in between the vineyard rows. Looks like the hawk had a big meal.

This stay has been a tough one. News that the son of one of my oldest friends is gravely ill has overshadowed everything. I'm so upset. The open distances and the silences are helping some, at least. Looking out on the vistas might be my way of praying right now.

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