I’ve just updated the website with the new wines we will be releasing in the fall. Check the ‘Wines’ page for details. We will have three new releases. The last of our 2009 wines, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Chaine d’Or Vineyard will be released.
We’ll also have the first of our 2010 wines; the 2010 Haut Tubee and a new wine for us the 2010 Nueva Casa de los Padres. Details on the three wines and tasting notes are up. The Library Release will be the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains.
So far reception for the three new wines has been great and we’re very excited by this release. We’re planning on sending out letter in September.
Another bottling day down! I wish I could say it was drama free, but bottling days never are. Mostly though it went smoothly and a lot of the issues we had were early in the day and I chalked them up to learning a new bottling truck and system. We arrived at the winery at 6am and the truck was there at the gate.
No issues getting it into place (the last truck we used could take up to 5 hours to get through the gates and down the hill). The truck was ready to go by 8:15 am. This is early in the set up process with the forklift in the foreground. The equipment needs to get set up, hooked inot the tanks in the winery and cleaned before we start.
This was just as we got started. Millie, Kaleb from the bottling company and Stefania in the truck. This seemed to be a really good fit for the speed we like to go and care we like to put in. We had some early drama figuring out the right screen to put in line with the bottle filler. The first one we used jammed up after 5-6 cases. We finally went with a wide ‘bug catcher’ screen that lets everything through but big chunks.
Once we got over that problem we ran out of Nitrogen. The Nitrogen is used to sparge the glass and clean in before filling. Millie is doing that step below. I had a back up tank but it was also almost empty. I must have left it open at some point it as it should have been new. So we sent Millie down into Redwood City to get another tank. They would only let her load one at a time into the car so she had to make two trips.
Once past that we were back on our way. You can see Kaleb, Stefania and Ingrid’s back in the picture below. Somehow I missed getting Jaye in any pictures but she was there also working on the line.
My job was to tape up the filled cases, put on tags and load them on to pallets. It’s a good job for me because I can lift the cases and they come off slow enough that if I need to be gone for 5 minutes I can and only a few cases will back up. That time lets me use the forklift to move pallets around or run into the winery to make adjustments inside.
We wrapped up bottling about 1:30 and clean up by 3:00. A pretty good day in all and we were really happy with the new truck. Our 2010, Haut Tubee and a new blend are safely in storage now!
When we got home we had one last bit of drama. A bee swarm trying to move into our house. I called Art the Bee Guy and he arrived after 9:00 pm and safetly got the queen and her hive off to a new home.
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.
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