Yesterday, I posted about our newest resident of Two Terrier Vineyards, the coyote who is surely Coyote with a Capital C, the Cosmic Trickster of Native American legend. If you’d seen his almost levitating, loose-limbed lope and the way he slips under a gap in the vineyard fence that is almost too tight for Oscar, you’d know what I mean. Well, today we met another new denizen of our patch of Sonoma — one that works the other side of the spectrum. Seems we’ve become a hang-out for the Pileated Woodpecker. That’s the goofy hole-drilling bird that inspired Woody Woodpecker. Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!
Believe me, in the flesh (or the feather) these guys are just as goofy as their cartoon counterpart. They’ve got big bodies and stubby wings that don’t look as if they could lift them. When they fly, they look as if they are just barely going to achieve lift-off. But ours have mostly installed themselves in the vineyard where they are busy cleaning out the few grapes that were left on the vines after harvest. They are welcome to them. But hopefully they won’t let that taste carry over to the times BEFORE harvest. Meanwhile they better restrain their drilling instincts. Our vineyard poles are made of metal!
Meanwhile on the wine front, if you haven’t been following the great Fermentation Face-Off between our college educated yeasts and Cousin John’s local yeasts, read about it here. It’s the college boys versus the juvenile delinquents and time will tell who produces the better wine.
Here’s the latest: our wines, thanks the College Boy yeasts, have been maintaining a 78 degree temperature, even as the outdoor temps have been low 60s and the 40s at night. Cousin John’s juvenile delinquents have struggled to stay a few degrees above 60. The University Crew Team yeasts are almost at the specific gravity where we can press them, Cousin John’s liquor store robbing thug yeast is only halfway through. Other than proving that college boys are hotter than the dropouts, what does this prove from a winemaking perspective? Well, Andy says John’s slow colder fermentation will produce a very fruit forward wine that will be drinkable earlier, but not such a long keeper. Ours will be more balanced between tannins and fruit and will age better. But taste? Cousin John’s could still win on that. Stay tuned.