Jeez, you know you’re blogging too much when you write a post, but forget to hit the “publish” button. Is it Blogging Alzheimers? I’ve only really been blogging for a year, so I must be too young to be getting that affliction. I just hope this momentary blogging lapse doesn’t get me thrown out of NaBloPoMo a mere four days in. Well, until I’m alerted otherwise, I’m assuming “writing a post a day” counts whether or not you “post a post a day”.
Now where was I? Ah yes, the 2009 harvest and winemaking at Two Terrier Vineyards, which by now feels as if it will never end. With Cinsault and Rose processed and nearly through secondary fermentation, and Grenache and Mourvedre just moved to steel tanks for their secondary, you’d think I’d be done. You would be wrong. Just last Thursday, we harvested the Cabernet and I’m now in the most labor intensive part of winemaking. That would be shepherding the wine through primary fermentation. That involves three times a day punchdowns and daily readings and tests of things like pH level, specific gravity and temperature.
I’ve been at this since September (mostly on my own as some people at Two Terrier Vineyards still have a day job), so I’m running out of new and inventive ways to blog about it. I think I’ve told you, over and over, everything about how to run a primary fermentation.
Well, we do have a bit of a twist for this, our third go-around in as many months. Cousin John who helped with the Cabernet crush, was paid in grapes. Which are sitting on our crushpad where I’m handling much of the punchdown for him. Cousin John, as you will remember, is Mr. Natural. No UC Davis yeast or cleaning with sulfite for him! Cousin John welcomes all bacteria, wild yeast and floating spores into his wine. Good thing we restrained ourselves from laughing. Seems, at this early stage, Cousin John’s natural brew is showing more fermentation action than our controlled vats.
Our vats have the advantage of size, so they can generate more of their own heat. And our yeast does have an education from the prestigious UC Davis. However, in life, the biggest guy with the fanciest degree isn’t always the most successful. We may find that winemaking is similar. Maybe Cousin John’s yeasts, which have been through the School of Hard Knocks, are just tougher than ours. Well, we’ll keep you posted as the great Grape Fermentation Face-Off continues. Who will you put your money on? Two Terrier Vineyards, with its still excruciatingly amateur status? Or the new Mr. Natural, Cousin John?
Meanwhile, just to put a big final endpoint on the 2009 harvest, a guy came around to rototill our vineyard.
You should look kindlier upon your local yeasts! I think they need to be name, just as every other wild creature on your estate has been anthropomorphically monikered!
Well, let’s start by naming YOUR yeasts. Since they are wild and they don’t have that UC Davis education, they should probably have greaserish, thuggy, juvenile delinquent sort of names. Like Spike, Rocco or PonyBoy.
Or maybe you have Jets and Sharks yeasts? Do I hear a Tony, Riff or Nardo?
in a future blog will you ell us the value of rototilling?
I’ll tell you now. The soil in vineyards gets pretty compacted what with all the maintenance (pruning, tying up shoots), not to mention the harvest crews running around. So rototilling just loosens up the soil so it drains better — and grapes hate wet feet.
Rototilling will also help us when we throw out some mustard seeds later. The mustard adds some nitrogen back into the soil and on freshly tilled land, you just have to sprinkle the seeds, pray for rain and you’ve got a crop.