Powdery Mildew Strikes Again.

Yep. It’s happened again. Powdery Mildew. It’s the #1 disease among grapevines and it’s more prevalent in cooler climates. It’s a fungus. It can ruin a cluster, a vine, a lot or even an entire vineyard.

We had about 7 of 50 plants affected last year. We did not use a fungicide. This year we did use fungicide as mentioned in a previous post. We sprayed several times but it was too late to control. Now we have 75% or more of our vineyard now affected. Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir showing signs of mildew.

The fruit afflicted with this disease will not render a good harvest. Fruit set will be poor and they will not ripen well or evenly. Here’s how it looks:

A Little Sunshine = A Lot of Growth

Took the weekend off for a little R and R up at some nearby lakes. Came home to walk the vineyard and see what a little sunshine will do in a few days time. Tomorrow we need to pull a few more leaves to allow some of the hidden grape clusters get enough light and air.

Pinot Noir Row K

Row K Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Row J

Row J Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir Row I

Row I Pinot Noir (front) Chard (rear)

Chardonnay Row H

Chardonnay Row H

Chardonnay Row G

Chardonnay Row G

Chardonnay Row F

Chardonnay Row F “Fred” the owl

Chardonnay Row E

Chardonnay Row E

Chardonnay Row D

Chardonnay Row C

Chardonnay Row C

Chardonnay Row B

Chardonnay Row B

Chardonnay Row A

Chardonnay Row A
Pinot Noir Decoration Vine
View from above

Hot off the Press

Today we pressed our 2019 Harvest of Pinot Noir Precoce – which was picked in September – crushed and destemmed, chaptilized and frozen until we returned from Arizona this late spring.

After thawing and testing the must – we began fermentation on July 1st. By July 7th we went from 23º brix to -2º. Fast. We are not sure if the chaptilization might have anything to do with the rapid fermentation. (Adding sugar to our must because we had to pick before it was totally ripe) … we wonder if maybe the sugar addition is consumed rapidly by the yeast causing a quick fermentation. We will have to ask someone with a higher pay grade!

Today, reaching the -2º brix .. or slightly below 0 residual sugar .. we transferred our must from the fermenters to the wine press. We have a really nifty wine press that really renders every drop and makes clean up a breeze. Thank you Blichmann Engineers for the WineEasy.

Guessing… we thought we would render 16.5 gallons of wine from 28 gallons of must – based on getting 3 gallons of wine from 5 gallons of must last year with someone else’s grapes…. but alas… we got 20 gallons of wine from 28 gallons oF our own must.

You can see clearly that the color is substantially lighter than what one would expect from a Pinot Noir. We intend to go through MLF or secondary fermentation after racking it off the gross lees in 1-2 days.

We are still pleased with the outcome so far. Our numbers are slightly high on acidity 9.6 TA and 3.2 ph – but MLF may help to reduce that.

Pressing July 7, 2020
20 gallons

It’s Wine Time

Yesterday we took our September 2019 harvest of Pinot Noir which had been crushed, destemmed, sO2’d and chaptilized out of deep freeze. We have 28 gallons of wine now defrosted and split between 2 fermenters filled with 14 gallons each. It’s still too cold to inoculate – just 48º so we have the cellar heat on and hope to raise them temperature to 70º in a day or two.

2019 Pinot Noir Harvested 9/27/19 – frozen – unthawed 6/28/20

Next up we plan to measure our brix, ph and ta, make any adjustments needed then begin primary fermentation.

In another vessel we have 3 gallons of Chardonnay which is resting on fine lees – and has been for 6 months that we plan to inoculate with malolactic bacteria and nutrients like acti-malo and opti-malo plus and set into motion 1-3 months of MLF – (malolactic fermentation or secondary fermentation) The purpose of this process is to soften the mouthfeel of the wine by turning the Malic (harsh) acid into Lactic (softer) acid. TMC = too much chemistry!

Just a few of the additives that go into winemaking

In yet another vessel we have 3 gallons of our practice batch of Pinot Noir (grapes purchased from another vineyard which came to us frozen, crushed and destemmed with the correct brix (sugar) ph and acidity .. that wine has been through both primary and secondary fermentation and is soon to be racked and aged one last time before bottling.