Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dropping bunches...

The year that things went wrong. Tested the merlot at 22.6 brix and planning to pick merlot and cab franc (20 brix).  If they ever get the sugars up, I'll co-ferment a right bank blend.  Jack and Brian came out with me and we went through the sad task of pulling the nets, harvesting the syrah and cab (left one row of syrah).  After harvesting, we drove the fruit out to a ditch a mile away and dumped it all.  After fighting the mildew in several rows, and fighting gophers forever, plus chasing out birds, with the lousy weather the grapes were soft and lassid and just not an inspiration to make wine.  Probably will make only a couple cases this year.  The plan for next year is to have a couple paid interns get the vines into really healthy shape with very clear regular regimes and goals.  It took me a long time to even understand what needs to be tracked and needs to be done so that I can instruct others on what I want to see happen.  These vines hold the potential for true greatness and they will be respected, by God.

I brought out four chaise lounges and two small side tables that can stay outside throughout the April to October period.  These look like they were tailor-made to go onto the new patio slab we poured this summer.  It will be really nice having four rather than two so that everyone staying at Grape Hill can have a lounge. With a ton of help from Jack, we also put in a walkway to connect the new patio with the outside shower and the back door, plus we put weed-inhibiting cover down underneath and trimmed out everything with gravel.  Looks much cleaner and it makes taking outside showers more accessible.  Sometime next year I think we will start looking at retiring the Adirondack loveseats around the firepit.  These have never been comfortable.  We put a ton of work into them and spent $500 for the kits, but they just don't really cut the mustard.  One more year and then a re-think.

Good times with Jack and Brian. First time to Grape Hill for each of them. Flying directly into Walla Walla was a breeze.  Jack spent six days, Brian three.  We managed to eat at several good spots, try several wineries, shoot trap with Dave, get out to Waitsburg and jimgermanbar, drive way out into the Blues, and Brian liked doing a fair bit of gambling both at The Blue and out to Wild Horse.  Ironically, Jack and I did not know what we were doing with the table games and we won, while Brian instructed us and lost, so we bought Brian a great dinner with the winnings.

Tom is talking about spending a three day stretch at Wild Horse for some big poker tournaments in early November.  I am thinking that I might join him while spending some time with the cab franc harvest.  May see if he wants to stay at Grape Hill and help me with the last of the grapes?