Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Mr. Weather's Wild Ride"

"Mr. Weather's Wild Ride"
6:38 AM on Oct. 12, 2008
As October has settled in, we have had it all this year... Drought, Heat, Smoke, Fire... I am waiting for Locusts next..... The weather which at the end of September had cooled down, was not a problem, but what did catch everyone a bit was an early storm coming thru last weekend.
Now, most of us enjoy a cool rainy day about this time of year. A perfect day to relax in front of the fire. Not so if you are a winemaker. With fruit on the vine, an early rainstorm can be a disaster. Rain creates all sorts of problems...from mold, to the vines sucking up all the moisture and pumping it back into the grapes, which you have been cutting back water from so as to concentrate the flavors in the fruit. The other problem is getting equipment into the vineyards to harvest the fruit.
When this happens, the winemakers that have been letting their fruit hang a bit longer can get caught and usually have a complete meltdown. Frantic calls to the vineyard managers telling them to do night picks at 3:00am in the morning go out, as they race against the incoming weather fronts. The winemakers will then tell ( not ask) the wineries that fruit is coming in, which means sometimes there is literally too much fruit coming in at once. And don't think about telling the crew not to come in.. they will ignore you and bring it in no matter what. This is a great example of the principal of "Transference" which is the process of which I take MY problem and make it into YOUR problem...
When this happens, all you can do is keep crushing until all the fruit is done. It is no fun to be crushing in the rain and cold at 1:30am when your day began at 6:00am trying to finish off the last fruit that was brought in.
Here in the Livermore Valley. we were lucky this time as we managed to crush 20 tons of Syrah, and 10 tons of Merlot on Friday, and missed he weekend rains. It did not go the same for others in areas such as the Santa Cruz mountains or parts of Sonoma.
Funny how these little moments are not in those dreamy commercials showcasing the romance of winemaking! LOL!! Well, as I had mentioned, these blogs are to give you an inside look into what goes on at harvest.

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