If 2020 wasn’t bad enough already, we can add this to the list of things gone terribly wrong.
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:
Here’s how we stir the lees and the oak chips during Malolactic Fermentation of the Pinot Noir. It’s a power drill attachment with plastic blades attached at the end to mix it up. Works great.
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
Pinot Noir Row J
Pinot Noir Row I
Chardonnay Row H
Chardonnay Row G
Chardonnay Row F
Chardonnay Row E
Chardonnay Row D
Chardonnay Row C
Chardonnay Row B
Chardonnay Row A
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.