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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chardonnay Day

The Vineyard at 5.50 am
Well it took a little more than an hour to get to the vineyard but still I was there talking to the early morning crew by 5.40 am. Then off to pick.

The Chardonnay fruit has a very short stem making snipping really hard. On top of that part of the row had some bird damage which needed cutting off to ensure the purity of the fruit. It took closer to three hours to get the required quantity. Then there was the stop for fuel on the way home. Back by 10.30 am.

To find ...

One cat taken to the vet with what seems to be paralysis tick symptoms. The quoted $3-500 was added to the cost of ownership spread sheet. First entry for her as she was a free to good home from same vet. Must inquire about warranty or any evidence of a pre-existing illness before she was taken home by us? Just kidding. Belle is a valued member of our family and although an outside cat she does check on us every morning and every evening. If she finds we are ok she will accept a little food as a courtesy then head out for more ratting. Has been guilty of bringing the odd snake into the bedroom. Most of the day you will find this small tuxedo laid out in a quiet spot recuperating from the nightly patrols. Poor Belle will not like being cooped up for a month needed for a full recovery.

Weaners over the river have broken out and found their way into a paddock that was greening up nicely after some heavy irrigation. Oh well they might as well stay there it was for them after all. The break out was because the boss had turned off the electric fence and forgot to switch it on again. Reminder to self to test fences each Monday.

The pipe into the irrigation pump had burst out of its fittings. Not a serious problem. Used multigrips to really tighten the fittings. They are a brand that I'm not fussed on because if you don't fit them just so they fail. The competing brand has a design that works even if you just think about tightening.

Now back to the grapes.

Crusher de-stemmer out on the grass as the crush pad is drying Onions

De-stemmed Chardonnay in the chiller

Batch B2 is soaking on skins for 16 hours

Batch B1 is juice only and being chilled while batch B3 below it is being soaked on skins for 36 hours maybe

And while all that was going on we knocked out a 9 small rounds of Camembert. And did some paid work. Busy day.


  1. Question - why do you de-stem the grapes as I doubt that with thousands of hectares in France and other wine producing countries they would have the time or patience? Or do they have a machine to do it? I thought in the villages they put the grapes, stalks and all, in a big tub, removed their shoes and socks and got in there with their bare (smelly?) feet.

    What are "wearers"? Little pigs?

  2. De-stemming is a big topic. Stems add harsh tannins to the wine. But in some years where fruit is very ripe a little harshness balances. So typically we put in some stems by leaving aside really nice bunches whole. The % you add varies from zero to 50%. It is a bit of a gut feel thing. We have a crusher/de-stemmer which does the work. It is pictured in the blog. All wineries have these machines in various sizes. Yes the old rustic way to make wine was to leave all the stems and use the feet to crush the berries. The wines were very tannic and bitter but it can become an acquired taste. Your feet will smell and taste nice after the stomping.

    The word is weaners with and 'n' and refers to calves just off their mothers milk after 12 months you can start to refer to them as yearlings. Just another vernacularism. It varies from country to country and within countries.

    Thanks for taking an interest. Always happy to respond to queries. Sometimes the blog is done in haste and may not always be thoroughly clear. Your input helps to bring clarity.

    Best wishes