Mark Twain said: “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Good point. And I wish someone had taken action on this terrible season back in May when it just wouldn’t warm up and wouldn’t stop raining. With a few scattered periods of hot, hot weather, it’s been mostly cooler and wetter than a normal season in Sonoma. And that’s not good for the grapes. Now we have word that a huge storm is going to sweep in Monday, dropping so much rain, it will put an early end to fire season. Which is a good thing for the brush. But not necessarily a good thing for ripening grapes which might start sprouting mold. John the Baptist and Louis are already putting out straw bales to brace for what they are saying will be a big one.
Meanwhile crews have been lined up for 7:30 Sunday to bring in all our Mourvedre and Grenache — even though they haven’t reached the optimum Brix level. With the Cinsault already processed, that will leave only Cabernet out in the field. But our vineyard consultant says Cabernet can pretty much stand up to anything.
While a crew of professional Mexican grape pickers will have no problem bringing in our grapes in a few hours (our vineyard will be a “little earner” for them between “real” jobs), Andy and I have never tried to process this many grapes by ourselves before. I think we have more than two tons out there. And with our sophisticated processing system, that means I sit on the concrete wall above the crush pad and drop grapes bunch by bunch into the crusher/destemmer. So I, in effect, will be “repicking” two tons of grapes. Andy, of course, handles the complicated task of turning the machinery off and on. It’s going to be interesting. And may end with me developing Pop-Eye arms. Instead of Lucille Ball’s comic timing.
Various Unrelated Notes
Chuck the Buck is back in a big way. In fact, I think our wacky weather and the presence of a full moon has brought on an early mating season. Apparently, male deer, at that time, can be very aggressive and fearless. Little Oscar found this out when he went running up to bark at Chuck who has taken to hanging out very close to the barn. The big buck just lowered his horns menacingly. Little Oscar scampered down the hill. Oh, he’s very brave dragging a deer carcass around that the coyotes have killed. But he’s not about to tangle with this.
The coyotes are back! Wiley, Wilma and two or three young’uns. John the Baptist and Louis saw them frolicking around the barn a few days ago. Like Chuck the Buck, they showed no interest in running off. As do most of the critters around here, they’re pretty much convinced they own the place.
Even if my grapes aren’t ripening as fast as I’d like, my prickly pear cactus is. John the Baptist brought in one of the fruits and showed me how to peel one and eat the fruit.
I think you should try to can some prickly pear jam (is there such a thing) is your free time that is
I was thinking about you when I saw the rain was coming. My neighbour picked his acre of syrah sometime last week. I’m doing the door for the football (actual, not American) Saturday morning then processing less than 200lbs of Sangiovese I arrnged to pick up. Sunday I must do things with my wife as it is her first weekend not on call in a month. Will you still need help on Monday morning? I can be out there fairly early if you are still crushing. I’m doing the sangio Lucy/Italian style with my feet!
Ah global warming.
Good luck and best wishes for a fine, successful harvest.
Kat, I do have a recipe for prickly pear jam. But my poor little Cacti aren’t producing enough “fruit”. I’ll have to do a midnight stealth mission down to the local hardware store — which has a one hundred year old prickly pear loaded with fruit.
Lisa, best wishes for your harvest. I’m learning so much from your experiences! Look forward to more stories and photos and remember to tape DWTS so you don’t miss a moment of Donny!
Could you please video the action on the crush pad? I’m interested to see how this works.