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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting Ready to Pick Sauvignon Blanc - We are getting close

A Foggy Morning in Napa - September 6 - Temp 54 degrees

This is an amazing part of the world.  At 6AM as the sun started to rise, it was clear. Now, at 7:05AM it is foggy and will probably stay that way for a couple of hours. Yesterday it was 85 degrees at the end of the day but the sun did not get completely "out" until 11AM.  That is one of the reasons the Napa Valley is so great for grapes.  Warm sunny days and very cool evenings, nights and early mornings. Everyday about 3PM the breeze from San Francisco Bay starts to blow, gently at first and then a bit stronger as we move toward evening.  It is the diurnal temperature variation that lets the flavors and sugars settle in the grapes and that gives us the great wines that only the Napa Valley can produce.

Picking up Sauvignon Blanc (SB) barrels today and testing the glycol in the chiller and tanks.

We will pick up the French Oak barrels (from Demptos) for the SB today and get them ready for use.
We will ferment the SB at cool temperatures (about 55 degrees) in the french oak barrels and following fermentation we will rack off the wine, clean the barrels and age the wine in those barrels for about 6 to 9 months.  Yesterday was spent adjusting and testing all of the tanks to make sure that we had the correct fittings, that the seals and valves worked and that they were clean.  Spotless.  We are getting close.

Picking SB on September 9.

The Brix was 24 yesterday so we will wait out this week but probably pick on Friday.  Stay tuned. This is starting to get exciting as we move forward to harvest.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting Ready for Harvest -2

Preparation for Harvest in Full Swing at Kitchak Cellars.

We are back in Napa and getting ready for harvest. All of the grapes in our vineyards are now in their final color.

Testing BRIX.

Yesterday we check BRIX of the grapes for the first time.
BRIX is a type of measurement of of ripeness.  BRIX is actually a measurement of the amount of sugar in a grape, and it is the sugar that makes the alcohol.  Grapes will naturally produce at full maturity a BRIX of around 25 or 25.5.  That means that the grape is 25% sugar or 25.5 sugar.   At 25% BRIX, grapes will produce an alcohol level in the wine of 14.5%.l  We get there by multiplying the BRIX by .58.  That formula gets us very close and is very reliable.
Sauvignon Blanc Grapes almost ready to pick.  
Notice the translucent yellow color

Yesterday the BRIX Sauvignon Blanc was 23. We are getting very close.  The Merlot was 19 and the Cabernet was 18.  Both have more than a month to go.
 Great Color in the Cabernet Sauvignon on September 3, 2011.  
Another month to go.

Bottling the Red Wines September 15.

On September 15 we will be bottling many of our Red Wines. So we have to get ready for that.  We have already done all of the sampling and test blends so we will be getting tanks ready this week and getting the blend wines into the tanks for the blending and they will stay in the tanks until they go into the bottles on the 15th.That day we will bottle the 2009 Adagio, the 2009 Franc and the 2009 Piacere. You may not have heard about our FRANC or our PIACERE.

FRANC is a Napa Valley Cabernet Franc that we do a small amount of and sell in the tasting room. Cabernet Franc is regularly used as a blending wine in Bordeaux Blends and mixed with Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is seldom used as a "stand alone" wine.  But we are making a small amount and it has been quite popular in the tasting room.  It is very interesting and sells for around $48. It is aged in oak and it gets the same high quality wine making and handling that our other best wines get.  Is not presently included in any of our wine club shipments, but you can order it direct from the winery.

Introducing PIACERE (pea-a-chair-ay).  

PIACERE is an Italian word meaning "to enjoy" or "to have pleasure." In music it is a phrase indicating that the piece may be played at a tempo in the discretion of the performer. Blended from estate grown varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this wine has been made to enjoy now, or it will age for your discretion. It is designed to be more approachable early than its big sister ADAGIO. It sells for about $45.  Like the FRANC it is not presently included in any of our wine club shipments, but you can order it direct from the winery.

Tours and Tastings by Appointment.

We are open during the harvest season for Tours and Tastings; by appointment only.  They are always private, one group at a time. We do 3 tours per day, one at 10:30, one at 1PM and one at 3:00. If you are a wine club member or a follower of our blog, just mention it and the tastings are complimentary.  Call 707-225-2276 for an appointment or send an e-mail to

Bring a Picnic.

We have a beautiful picnic patio on the shores of Lake Cynthia in the middle of our vineyard. It has picnic tables and overlooks the lake. Come for a 10:30 tasting, bring your lunch, buy a bottle of Kitchak Cellars wine and enjoy a picnic in the vineyards overlooking the lake under the spreading branches of a 200 year old Oak Tree.  Or come for a picnic and follow it with a tasting at 1PM.  Either one works. But, you need an appointment. Call 707-225-2276 for an appointment or send an e-mail to