Okay, a detour into obsessive debate watching and debate twittering is over and it’s back to the grapes at Two Terrier Vineyards. The one thing you find out pretty quickly about farming is that you can’t schedule it around other things you might want to do. A threatened rain storm has us all panicking. Rain on grapes just before picking is not a good thing. Worst case, mold could form (although with Sonoma temps, the grapes will probably dry out too fast for that.) But we still don’t want to be picking/crushing grapes in the rain which would be a bummer, but might also dilute the juice with rainwater.

Just to get everyone up to speed, the Cinsault, our first crush, has now progressed from primary fermentation to secondary fermentation in steel tanks in our fermentation shed. (Read about that harvest here and here.) Good thing too as we’ve got ripening grape varietals stacking up like airplanes over Newark Airport. Earlier this week it was the Grenache that was picked, crushed and dumped in the primary fermentation vat recently vacated by the Cinsault.

Today, we picked and crushed the Mourvedre, just finishing up as darkness decended and the rain began to fall. That saved me from having to clean the crusher/destemmer which I don’t think I could have handled after, with my own two fair hands, picking up a half ton of grapes and dropping them into the crusher. As a side note, do you have any idea how heavy a half ton of grapes is? A HALF FRICKEN’ TON.

What I want to know is how come the work always seems to divide with Andy puttering around tweaking the machinery and doing science experiments while Im left transferring HALF A TON OF GRAPES from picking bins to the crusher/destemmer?

What I want to know is how come the work always seems to divide with Andy puttering around tweaking the machinery and doing science experiments while I’m left transferring HALF A TON OF GRAPES from picking bins to the crusher/destemmer?

My point? Ah, yes, Mourvedre. A lovely red grape varietal and one particularly appropriate to Two Terrier Vineyards. The French sometimes call it Estrangle-Chien or “dog strangler”, I guess because Mourvedres are tannic and high in alcohol. However, it can’t be too rough because it’s often used as a blending grape to soften Grenache. In our own non-scientific poll, we noticed that the terriers seemed to prefer Mourvedre to the other grapes, at least based on the number of dropped bunches they pounced on.

The threatening storm seemed to bypass us in the end. Only a few sprinkles and only after wed picked and crushed. I left the crusher unwashed. Maybe Mother Nature will help me with that job tonight.

The threatening storm seemed to bypass us in the end. Only a few sprinkles and only after we’d picked and crushed. I left the crusher unwashed. Maybe Mother Nature will help me with that job tonight.

So the score at Two Terrier Vineyards: three down (Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre) and one to go (Cabernet). But I don’t even want to think about the Cab yet as we have at least twice as much of that planted as we do the others combined. Even though I’ve got professional crews lined up, I’m still calling in favors to all my wine-drinking friends for help with the crush. What are you all doing around Wednesday? I’ll keep you posted on the Brix level. Be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind burning afterwards.

Oscar helps by dragging culled corn stalks all through the vineyards. And by making friends with all the Mexican grape pickers. They loved that he was named for Oscar de la Hoya.

Oscar helps by dragging culled corn stalks all through the vineyards. And by making friends with all the Mexican grape pickers. They loved that he was named for Oscar de la Hoya.

Lucy helps by chasing small furry critters into drainage pipes.

Lucy helps by chasing small furry critters into drainage pipes.

Then she stands and emits piercing yelps for an hour at another furry critter who ran under this bridge.

Then she stands and emits piercing yelps for an hour at another furry critter who ran under this bridge.

Or maybe she knows there is a troll under that bridge, courtesy of my English sister-in-law who believes all bridges should have resident trolls. And some Billy Goats Gruff. But that will happen later in the livestock phase of TTV.

Or maybe she knows there is a troll under that bridge, courtesy of my English sister-in-law who believes all bridges should have resident trolls. And some Billy Goats Gruff. But that will happen later in the livestock phase of TTV.

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