Rain Rain go away.
I saw something on the national news that suggested that due to the rain, the Sonoma (and presumably with it Napa's) grape crop was in serious jeopardy. We got .33 inches of rain overnight and it hardly wet the soil. When we do our irrigation calculations to determine how much to water to use on the vines, we literally ignore the first .25 inches of rain because it gets used up immediately and absorbed by the dust on top of the soil. However, the real issue will be what happens over the next couple of days. We really do not expect it to be a problem.
Today we received the following special weather alert.
STRONG EARLY SEASON COLD FRONT EXPECTED TO MOVE ACROSS
NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...
A STRONG COLD FRONT...ESPECIALLY FOR EARLY OCTOBER...WILL MOVE
ACROSS NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. A
BRIEF PERIOD OF HEAVY RAIN IS LIKELY WITH THIS FRONT...OCCURRING
TONIGHT IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA...AND ON WEDNESDAY MORNING
IN THE MONTEREY BAY REGION. IN ADDITION...LOCALLY STRONG AND GUSTY
WINDS ARE LIKELY ALONG THE FRONT. THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE IN
THE COLD AIRMASS BEHIND THE FRONT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
SOME OF THESE THUNDERSTORMS MAY BE ACCOMPANIED BY SMALL HAIL.
But...only .1 inch of rain is forecast during the next 24 hours (as of 6PM Tuesday).
Not too much to be worried about.
Today some more barrels arrived and we only have about a half dozen left to get. We received a few Ermitage Barrels from France today and only one Canton Barrel of American Oak, made by the same company that makes Tarransaud barrels in France. Speaking of which, our Tarransaud barrels will be the last to arrive, but they should be here in plenty of time. I have probably mentioned before that almost all of the barrels we use are French Oak which costs 2.5 to 3 times the cost of American oak, but they simply make a more refined wine. We use a few American Oak barrels much they way you would use a spice in cooking; just a little bit to add some complexity to flavor.
We also received a dozen plastic barrels today from our friend Steve Zellar at Parley Lake Winery in Minnesota. Steve buys grapes from us to use in some of his wine-making. It is actually in interesting process. We pick the grapes and crush them in our winery, then we put the crushed grapes (called "Must") in the plastic barrels, add a little sulfur to protect them along the way, and by early afternoon the barrels are in a cold storage warehouse in Sacramento. The barrels are quickly cooled down to 35 degrees and then shipped nontop to Minnesota. In effect, Steve does his "cold soak" in a refrigerated truck. Once they get to Minnesota he warms up the must, adds the yeast and he is on virtually the same footing as we are when we start fermentation. The great thing about crushing the grapes before they ship is that we remove the risk of premature fermentation and spoilage of the grapes along the way. We will pick Steve's grapes within the next week or 10 days.
We also did a bit more organizing today. Our plan is to pick the grapes for our 2011 Scherzo Cabernet Rosato on Friday when we have a number of friends coming to help with the pick and crush. We are hoping to have those grapes "In the Tank" by the end of the day on Friday.
Our friends Ralph and Lindsay Bashioum also arrived. They are partners of ours in this wine adventure and are here to help with our harvest party on Saturday. We have a great harvest party for our wine club members each fall. If you are not coming this year, Join the wine club and come next year. Ralph is a cosmetic surgeon from Wayzata Minnesota and he has a very interesting and creative web site, check it out. http://nipntuck.com/http://nipntuck.com/.
So long for now, more tomorrow. Another day of organizing and getting ready for the big harvest yet to come.