Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010. We lost the operation of the "Smart Wheel", thereby leaving us without Cruise Control and Windshield Wipers when we left Mary's. We are now in Sparks, Nevada at a Cummins repair shop, waiting to see how long it will take to fix the problem. We are camped at Cummins parking lot, lovely accommodations. It appears we will do about anything to camp for free.

The tech working on our Coach thinks the part should be here by Monday. Wow, another 3 days in the parking lot.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010. We left the Winery today with sadness, because we are leaving good friends and because the loss of the grapes affects Mary's livelihood. Under normal conditions, when we leave the Winery, we have approximately 23 barrels of Marechal Foch and approximately 12 barrels of Chardonnay barreled down (stored in barrels). This year we have 3 barrels of Marechal Foch and no Chardonnay. By the end of harvest the barrel room is full. It holds around 160 barrels, that would equate to approximately 4,000 cases or 48,000 bottles of wine just from the barrel room. In the past the large silver milk tanks were full of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewuztraminer, and Miller Thurgau. This year they are making a little Champagne with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that we picked that were salvageable.
We are taking with us great memories and lots of pictures. We will be making our way to Mesa, Arizona over the next several days.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010. We are getting ready to leave the winery and head for Mesa, Arizona. Today we were busy finishing up projects and starting to pack things up. We are planning to leave around 9 am tomorrow morning. It has been raining all day and getting colder here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010. Breakfast at Claudia's YUMMY.............What a feast, she made biscuits and gravy, a frittata with spinach, goat cheese and a brown rice crust, roasted potatoes. cantaloupe with figs, scones, lattes, coffee and home made grape juice.

Even with the rain today her yard is a delight to the eye.

Twice every day, morning and evening the totes full of grapes and juice are punched down. This is done by hand with large plungers, it is necessary to keep everything mixed up. After punch down, we take the temperature and measure the sugar content of each tote to keep track of how the fruit is moving. The totes have now been inoculated with a combination of go-ferm and yeast. The combination needs to be mixed at specific temperatures and then when activated it is introduced into a corner of the tote and left to do its work.

Today the juice from the bottom of the silver milk tanks storing the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was processed through the Lees filter. This process removes all the sediment from the juice. It is then pumped back into it's tank for fermentation.

Liz is cleaning out the sediment from the bottom of the tank that was sent thru the Lees filter.

Tom is cleaning the Lees filter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010. Today we finished giving the barrels their hot and cold water baths. After filling them with hot water we let them soak for 15 minutes and then roll them over and empty them. (This is when you get the facial). You then check for crystals and smell the inside of the barrel to determine if it needs further treating.

Mike, Jake and Tom put together Mary's new outside tables that converts to a bench. Really cool idea. I will be ordering one for my patio when I get home next spring.

Lynn is cooking dinner tonight, stuffed chicken breasts. We do really eat good while we are here. I am going in the house now for my before dinner glass of wine. Mike is watching the Utah/Colorado football game. It is currently raining and has been all afternoon.

Tomorrow morning we are going to Buena Vista House (Claudia's B&B) for breakfast. She brought us dinner our second night here. Claudia is a very good cook and we always look forward to what ever she makes for us. Mary has the best friends ever!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010. Today Lynn and I started working in the barrel room. Liz has identified about 20 barrels that she will use this year. We spent the day moving these selected 20 barrels to the location in the barrel room that will work best. We will need to scrub the outsides and give them either a cold water or hot water bath depending on the age of the barrel. This is one of our favorite places to work because once we start using the hot water the barrel room turns into a sauna and we get our annual facials. We will also need to prepare a solution to put into each of the unused barrels to protect them for next year. There are 139 barrels currently in the barrel room and each barrel will hold 25 cases of wine.

Thursday, October 21 ,2010. Wow, what a busy day......... It started out at 8 am with our group going out to pick the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for the Champagne. Lynn and I were taken off picking around 2 pm when the grapes arrived from Beckenridge. We were moved up to the crush pad to work the destemmer and fill the totes (a tote is a heavy-weight plastic container about 4 feet x 4 feet by 4 1/2 to 5 feet deep) with grape juice and berries along with the appropriate amount of co2 per bin of fruit. Each bin (a bin is a 4x4x3 foot box that holds about 1,000 lbs of grapes) holds about 2 1/2 bins of fruit and that equates to about 2,100 pounds. After each tote is filled to within about 9 inches from the top it is moved by forklift into the fermentation room. Each tote is labeled, then a sample of the juice is taken along with its temperature and then the tote is covered with a sheet or blanket. Any additives are noted on each tote. We filled 5 totes with Pinot Noir, called it a day and went in to dinner around 6:30 pm. Just as we went inside it started to rain.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Today Mary made the decision as to what to do with the grapes. We are going to selectively pick the Marechal Foch first. Because of the condition of the grapes she is not having the pickers come in to do that job. Mary, Liz, Joan, Tom, Lynn, Jake, Sebastian, Roserio and myself, were trained to do the picking. We picked one and 3/4 bins, that equates to about 1,750 pounds. We are all sporting purple hands tonight. The Foch is currently being processed through the distemmer and put into a large tote so it can start the fermentation process. Because of the lack of Marechal Foch grapes, Mary is thinking about mixing it with another red grape and making a blend of some kind.
Tomorrow morning the pickers will be picking Beckenridge. Beckenridge is another 10 acres that Mary has at another location. We will go back to picking the Chardonnay and Pinot Gris at Mary's vineyard. Using these two grapes Mary and Liz are going to make Champagne. This will be a one time thing because they have never before made Champagne and do not intend to do so in the future. Tomorrow will be a long day as all the fruit picked will need to be processed. The reason we are picking so fast is that we are trying to beat the rain that is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010, we are still waiting to determine the outcome of the grapes. The Foch will the first to pick, if it is picked at all. We have been having sunny days but near frosts at night and the cold nights is not helping the ripening process. You can see some of the frost damage on this picture of the grapes. Today Lynn and I are going to start tagging every row of grapes in the vineyard with a number and how many plants are in each row, along with any problems we see with vines dying out or any other irregularities we identify. This should keep us busy for days. At least we will get our walking in.

The men are working on Jake's Van today.
They are trying to repair the generator.

We just got back from counting the 12 rows of Muller Thurgau and 12 rows of Gewuztraminer, it took us 2 hours each to count 12 rows. Most rows have over 100 plants. I think I need to recalculate how long this count is going to take. It will be more like weeks.

The tasting room is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It is a busy place. The weather is so nice during the day that most of the tasting is taking place outside. That is Mary in the pink, doing the pouring.

Tonight we are going out to The Bread Board for pizza. The story behind the Bread Board Bakery is; Keith and John came to Falls City (12 miles out of Monmouth) to start a little bread business a few years ago. They started baking bread and scones in their house and selling out of there also. It became so popular, so many people were coming from other towns to buy their bread that they have opened a separate business location and built a huge wood fired oven that can accommodate 100 loaves of bread at a time. They have just started having Pizza nights on Sunday and Monday evenings. They also serve salads and a decadent chocolate with cream drink that is served in demitasse cups. It is extremely rich. Truly a chocolate lovers dream.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Monday, October 11, we arrived at Airlie Winery, it is always such a beautiful sight when driving into Mary's Vineyard. She has about 36 acres of vines. With the weather problems this year there is a concern as to whether the grapes will fully ripen before the frost gets them. Tuesday morning Elizabeth Clark, the Winemaker had me take a sample of the grapes. This is done by walking down the rows of grapes and taking three grapes from a bunch, one grape from the top, one from the middle and one from the bottom. You take this sample from every 5th vine, alternating sides. After collecting a baggie full, you bring the grapes up to the lab and squeeze all the juice from them and test for the degrees of Brix, (Brix is the measure of sugar content). We want the Foch to be between 22 and 24 Brix. It is now at 20. The Foch will be the first grape to be harvested, followed by the Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau, Gewurztraminer, Riesling. Liz has also developed a new white wine called 7. It is a blend of 7 different white grapes. It is a favorite of mine. If the weather holds out, the Foch could possibly be picked the first of next week. Lynn and Jake arrived on Tuesday, so the Harvest Crew is ready.

While we wait, Mary decided to hold our annual Airlie Golf Tournament today, Wednesday, October 13, 2010. Liz and I were a great team. We have no idea who won, but we all had a great time.

There is a lot of discussion between Liz and Mary regarding what to do if the grapes don't ripen enough. Some discussions going on are regarding making Champagne, which you do with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. They have never done this before so it would be a complete change of process to make this happen. More to follow on this topic.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We left Bountiful on September 20, 2010 on our way to spend the winter in Mesa, Arizona, via Monmouth, Oregon where we do our "volunteer work" at Airlie Winery. En route we spent time in Pocatello, Idaho with Bob and Theresa Carter, golfing, playing cards and dining at their home. We then headed to West Linn, Oregon to visit with Darla and Linda. We had a wonderful dinner at their lovely home on September 23rd. Linda cooked Salmon on the grill and they taught us how to make Hobo Fruit and cake packets on the BBQ.

The next stop is in Lincoln City, on the Oregon Coast, where we met up with Lynn and Jake Whalen for a fishing trip. Due to the lack of fish at this time, we decided to cancel the fishing. We did tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory, had some amazing food and walked some amazing beaches. While in Lincoln City, Mary and Matt Lanning, and Mary Olson camped with us. We spent a day on the golf course and went to a great place for dinner called the Black Fish. This resturant comes highly recommended by Elizabeth Clark, winemaker at Airlie.

The kites that were on the beach were enormous.

You never know what you might find left behind on the beach, like this sand sculpture of a women laying on her stomach with a book and a bottle of wine.

Lynn's sister Mary Duringer met up with us for a day on her favorite beach in Yachats. (pronounced Ya Haats) She taught us a lot about the types of creatures in the water and the shoreline in this area. The first picture is Anemones, the second is Star Fish (they are orange and green) feeding on the Mussels and the third is thousands of Mussels clustered on the rocks.

We have been experiencing a few mechanical problems with the coach and the truck. Mike made an appointment with Cummins Diesel in Coburg, Oregon, near Eugene on Wednesday, October 6th due to a problem with the engine losing power. We also had an appointment with Kendall Ford Service on Friday, October 8th because the drivers side window was having problems going up and down. We spent 3 days in Cummins while everything was repaired. We have now moved on to Corvallis where we are awaiting Mary Olson's call to come and harvest the grapes.