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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Vintage approaches

After catching up by telephone with the two vineyard managers we deal with it looks as if picking will commence mid to late next week.

At one vineyard the Pinot Noir will be ready late next week subject to some samples being tested early in the week. At the other vineyard the Chardonnay should be nicely ripe by mid week. But again some samples will be tested at the beginning of the week.

The Pinot will have our new standard red practice of chilling to 10C and holding that for 72 hours before fermenting between 28 and 32 C and staying on skins for 22 to 26 days.

The Chardonnay will be split into two batches. One batch to ferment after cold soaking overnight. The second batch will cold soak for 48 hours before fermentation. Both batches will be fermented at 15 C until only one third of the sugar remains then it will be racked into demijohns to finish under airlock. The 48 hour soak is something new for us hence hedging our bets with lots.

The Sauvignon Blanc is 2-3 weeks away from being ready to pick as are most of the reds. The weather is dry and there is no serious rain forecast for the next month. The vineyards are irrigating to prevent the vines from stressing. Yields may be down because of the dry Spring causing some varieties to set lower fruit levels but the quality should be up. The botrytis problems of last year won't be an issue this time. The last really quality year was 2007 and it maybe that this year will be in that league.

For anyone into making wine this is the exciting part of the year. Watching the fruit ripen and being ready for those pre-dawn starts to get the harvest in while the grapes are cool and the temperature and humidity are ideal for the pickers.
It's good to have a hobby.

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