If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably know that after getting better each year, our third attempt at winemaking went horribly wrong. It actually started out extremely promising. Then it went in the barrels and. . .ick. A nasty musty aftertaste. Now I think we’re catching the first clue to what caused this.

We’ve been scrupulously clean, which they say is the key. Wash everything down thoroughly with sulfite water before every contact with the wine. That leaves our hands and hair dry as dust, but so far so good.

Now we find out we were storing the barrels in absolutely the worst way you can possibly do it. Filled with water to keep them swollen and tight. Then washed out with sulfite water before the wine went in. Turns out that’s never enough. All those nasty wine-killing molds can hide in the cracks just waiting to spoil your wine.

Turns out, according to these guys and others, we should have thoroughly cleaned the barrels and stored them dry after burning a sulfer wick in them. Only just before we were to use them should we have rehydrated them and added a sulfite cleaning solution and cleaned them. Arrrg. Stupid mistake and the Syrah is paying for it. Well, live and learn.

On a lighter note. Our Mountain Lion, Joaquin, seems to be back. Out in the pasture, I found a gigantic cat footprint near some pretty deep impressions of deer footprints (which meant those deer were running fast!) I like the idea of a mountain lion, but I hope he maintains his taste for venison and never starts yearning for goats or horses or terriers.