Last Saturday we picked Chardonnay at Chaine d’Or. I posted most of these pictures real time on Facebook on Saturday in real time. I’ll try to do the same again this Saturday as we pick at Crimson Clover but I know getting a signal there is even harder than Chaine d’Or. The day started at a decent hour for picking. I was up at 5:45 and we were in the car at 6:33 and 60 degrees. We did make a stop for coffee and arrived at the winery at 7:15.
Jerry and the crew had arrived at 7 and were already at work getting the nets off. Stef and I had prepped and cleaned the winery and equipment the day before so there was no additional work that morning other than getting started picking.
The fog hung low around the vineyard well into the early afternoon. I was able to help with a little of the picking before switching to my regular job of driving the tractor and picking up the full bins for processing.
The grapes looked really nice coming in. Some were very golden. The upper section of the vineyard gets more sun and those grapes usually are riper than the grapes from the lower section.
After driving the bins up in the tractor I dump them into the press. I started doing whole cluster pressing last year.
I did take a short break from the bin dumping to run down into the lower section of the vineyard and pick the ‘rouge’ Pinot Noir I wrote about last week.
After pressing the wine is pumped into this large chilled tank to settle for 24 hours. That helps the juice separate from any solids.
The dogs watch the entire process. Sofie on the right was a puppy in 2005 when I first worked at Chaine d’Or so this is her 8th Chardonnay harvest.
On Sunday we went back up to the winery and transferred the settled wine into an inside tank to start fermentation. We’ll let it burble in here until it reaches about 12 Brix. The tank is chilled to keep fermentation between 60 and 70 degrees. Once we reach the 1/2 way point on fermentation and the temperature is not likely to spike up we’ll transfer the wine to barrel to finish fermentation.
Final numbers on the wine looked great. Brix was 23 exactly and pH was 3.36. We expect a smooth fermentation and the wine should turn out like the 2008 version based on the numbers and handling so far.