Saturday I had a full day of work to do in the winery. All of the barrels needed topping and that takes a couple of hours. I also was going to bottle the 2010 Chardonnay from the Chaine d’Or Estate.
This was going to be a hand operation since I estimated (correctly) there were only about 10 cases.
Here’s the sad story of the 2010 Chardonnay. Last year the growing season was cold and foggy at Chaine d’Or well into July. We were worried that the grapes would never get ripe. So in mid-July we took the very expensive step of removing all the leafs from the fruit zone to try and get more sun to the clusters. There were many vineyards doing the same thing.
In early August things seemed ok and it looked like we might be able to pick in October. We also noticed though that Mildew was starting in the vineyard. The late verasion had increased the risk of mildew so we were prepared. We went out and did two treatments, the first with an organic product called Oxidate, and then a week later with Stylet oil.
We zapped the mildew, no problem. We also left a nice shinny sheen on the grapes for the hottest unexpected August heat wave in memory. Without leafs the clusters had no protection and baked in the heat.
We knew there would be only a few hundred pounds in the vineyard. When we eventually did pick we used just the ‘A’ team and it took about four times as long to pick. They only picked good clusters. Stefania and I set up a table and as the 30 pound bins came in from the field we hand sorted each cluster and then cut out the bad grapes with scissors. Grape by grape.
When it was all done we had about 25 gallons of wine. It was really good, and I put it in a small barrel to age before transferring to a tank for bottling. We knew though we could never sell this wine. The cost we estimated was about $165 a bottle for us to produce it.
Stefania decided she wanted it though and we would bottle it for our own use. She really wants it for her Crab Feed party so that’s what the plan is.
This is the tank lifted up to help the wine flow for hand bottling.
The first picture is the hand corker I used. I filled each bottle one at a time and corked them with some left over 2008 corks. No labels for this wine, it would have been too expensive to print a small run.