Thursday, October 29, 2009

Learning Curves

Will anyone enjoy reading about the vicissitudes of starting a vineyard and making wine? (I promise not to use that word again.)

Nothing that I read prepared me for this journey of picking clones and fighting gophers and birds and deer, let alone understanding scale issues and the realities of handling gallons upon gallons of fermenting wine. I do not concede that this is only for rich people using consultants! But wow, this is not for the faint of heart. I did my first full-on malolactic testing yesterday on the syrah. Started at 10AM and saw the results at 7AM today. Still in malolactic "secondary" fermentation with a good two weeks or more to go. It is so tempting to think about planting a much bigger vineyard so that we can have commercial scale in five years. But that is so much work! Does the world really need more wine?

I tasted four carboys with what should be the same syrah in three and an un-oaked sample in the fourth. One tasted unpleasant, one was asleep at the wheel and inaccessible, the un-oaked one was fruity and frivolous, and one was purely magnificent. Last year I learned to expect variation across weeks. I had not expected variation across carboys!

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