Sunday, September 04, 2011

A strange year for the grapevines is coming to a close

4 September

The tourist season will officially be over tomorrow when the last guests leave and I would like to thank everyone who came to visit this year!  I have been busy doing all the tasks around the place, trying to keep pace with ripening grapes, the B&B, the lawn, a bit of baking for the guests etc.
A recap of the growing season which I am sure has caused not a few of my hairs to fall out:  Spring started with torrential rains which eroded deep ruts in the Pecorino and washed my neighbors "terra" onto ours in other parts.  The ruts were repaired and flowering came a bit late but was quite strong and the grapes set nicely.  In the early part of the evolution of the little grapes the first hailstorm on our property in 5 years arrived and damaged about 20% of the little grapes with some falling off and others bruised.  This put a stop to the plants' growth for a good 7-14 days as they recovered from the shock.  Shortly after a heat wave arrived with temperatures soaring into the upper 90's which further inhibited growth of the plants as their stomata closed up to conserve moisture.  A few, again torrential,  rains followed to green everything up and start the growing cycle again.  The last rain was in the first days of August and since then there has been a continual run of 30 degree + days until finally the Bruni 54 clone became all raisins and the Pecorino matured 16 days earlier than last year followed shortly thereafter by the Merlot.  The prior was harvested on 31 August at a high Brix level, but with a normal pH and good total acid levels and the Merlot, similarly, was well balanced in its analysis, but the grapes were quite dehydrated.  Total volume looks to be about 1500 liters of Pecorino, very little! and about 3500 liters of Merlot, which is better than last year.  With good fortune, the skin/must ratio being quite high will give me a complex, though alcoholic wine.  Both are bubbling away in their fermentation right now and the Cabernet Franc is calling out to be harvested tomorrow.

My work in the vineyard started in late February with pruning and tying and ended a week ago Friday with the last of the green harvest where I cut away less than beautiful or too abundant grape clusters.  It was a busy year!

I did have time for a Monday hike with Bacco in the by now familiar to my readers Gola dell'Infernaccio and he had a wonderful time playing in the waters of the little river.

Finally, I just finished my final exam in my winemaking course from UC-Davis, this time "Wine Stability", so maybe I will have more time to update the blog.

The pictures are all from the gola and this last one shows the monk who has built the church high up on the mountain stone by stone all by himself ala St. Francis.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow, didn't realize that there was so much involved with wine-making and grape raising. FYI, we just bought the last two bottles of your HSYAR 2012 from Royal on 103rd. It is really good- enjoyed it with Donna's brisket when Andrew and Suzy visited from Dallas this weekend. We talked about you and your hospitality for their wedding, forever in our memories!