Friday, October 31, 2008

Taking 1 for the Team

So Pogo (aka Aaron) is heading out to Olympia again this weekend to press the Syrah. I am too tired and a bit starved of family time and have elected to stay behind. I am sure he is just as pooped and sleep-deprived but he's taking one for the team. At times like this I realized I made the correct choice in who to join forces with to make wine.

Thanks man!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

update from the even thicker of it

We got back from Washington through a driving stint that would make a trucker proud and on our return turned around and pressed the pinot.

The 2008 Wahluke Syrah is currently in the bin at around 13brix and dropping fast. The 2008 Elk Prairie vineyard Pinot Noir has wrapped up primary fermentation. The Warriors are trying to come back against the Hornets. I've got a bit of time and borrowed energy for another update.

After we got the fermentation starting in Glen Park we loaded up the trailblazer with almost everything we were supposed to bring with us to Olympia and started the drive up the hill. In tow we had one neutral barrel, 25 empty cases, a few changes of clothes, 1/2 dozen bottles of wine and a hole where our bag of yeast, immersion heaters, SO2, tartaric acid, yeast nutrients and our winemaking reference book were to go <- Hello Portland wine making supply shops.

After a 2 parter drive up to Olympia we picked up the same trusty ford pickup I used the year before and prepared our selves (by going out for drinks) for a 5AM drive over to Eastern Washington. On Saturday (10/25) we drove out to Wahluke Slope to pick up our second batch of grapes. This being 1200LB from the Gilbert family's Doc Stewart's Vineyard just south of Mattawa, WA. The Gilberts have been farming in Washington since the invention of the phonograph and Doc Stewart's Vineyard is their organic vineyard in Wahluke Slope.

This time we turned around quick getting back to Olympia at 2PM and starting the sort shortly after 3:00. We sorted (and are fermenting) at the Lubliner residents in Mud Bay. With the help of family and friends and some clean grapes we were able to wrap up the sort in roughly 6 hours.

Sunday we started the syrah fermentation and the clean up process.

On Monday Syrah fermentation had started to kick up to a modest pace and as such we started the drive back to the bay area tired but satisfied that we accomplished all we sought to accomplish. We got home to a Pinot that was more than ready to press and was showing the beginning signs of some yeast strain.

We got back just in the nick of time. Tuesday we got the press and got to work pumping and pressing the pinot into our 2 barrels, 3 six gallon carboys and 3 one gallon carboys.

We've left Fairmount St stained purple and littered with grape skins and we've left ourselves running on somewhere close to empty but shy of the syrah press we have successfully wrapped up the 2008 crush.

To be honest with you - we're physically sore, mentally tired and emotionally worn but only just getting started. Saturday it's back up to Olympia to press the Wahluke syrah, after that it's planning and plotting for 2009 with an occasional racking in between.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

update from the thick of it

The tough thing about a blog about wine making is that the most exiting part of winemaking is too exiting to have time to write about how exiting it is.

In the brief time and energy i have between last Saturday's harvest of Fruitland Ridge Pinot Noir and this Saturday's harvest of Wahluke Slope Syrah here's where we are so far.

On Friday we drove up to Willits where we picked up a trailer from U-Hual that is suppose to haul 1600LB and travel down the road no faster than 45mph (both proven wrong). The gentleman at Willits tire center saw the 60 yellow picking bins in and on the car and asked if we were getting mushrooms (i snickered) - no grapes.

Friday we learned that the grapes wouldn't be picked by the 10AM hour as we'd hoped buy later, maybe much later (gulp). So we visited the local wine bar, the local liquor store, the local cajun restaurant and two of the local watering holes. 2 bottles of wine and 4 shots of makers mark later we were ready to settle in for the evening.

Saturday AM (10:00) we made our way up to Elk Prairie and the picking was underway but falling behind as there was a smaller picking crew then originally anticipated. With that news we were handed some clippers and put to work. Lesson learned - we suck at picking grapes but dug having the opportunity to find out.

Saturday PM (3:00) we started weighing the grapes and transferring to our bins for the drive south.

Saturday PM (3:45) we started out climb down the hill trailer of grapes in tow. FWIW, we had originally planned on making it to Glen Park prior to 3PM.

Saturday PM (8:42) we rolled into Glen Park and those still waiting helped unload and start the sorting process.

Sunday AM (1:30) bed time.

Sunday AM (7:30) off to get coffee and pastries and back to sorting.

Sunday PM (5:30) grapes are crushed, bins are being washed and we're about spent. Cold soak begins.

Monday/Tues - continue w/cold soak thanks to dry ice from SF Ice Co.

Wednesday PM (6:30) fermentation starts on pinot.

Tomorrow we drive up to Washington to prepare for the syrah harvest on Saturday. We hope to have this in the tank and fermentation going strong by Monday AM at which point we'll heading back to CA to press the pinot mid-week and fly back to WA to press the syrah on the 1st/2nd of November.

phewww.... we'll have more details and photos, winey geek stats and continue to show you how things are doing after the 2 weeks of craziness subside.

wishful thinking (the movie)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things are brewing

more updates to come...

Friday, October 17, 2008

We got the grapes!!!

The first post on this blog states enthusiastically that we'd sourced grapes for both the pinot and syrah, that was April 11th. Of course since then we've seen record frosts, late starts in ripening, fires and early cold fronts. We've lost our grapes due to low yields and found new grapes thanks to some chicken scratch on the back of a scrap of paper.

Today we are driving up to The Fruitland Ridge in Humboldt County to pick up our pinot noir grapes (to be picked tomorrow AM). Through much fingernail chewing, nervous pacing and many a restless night we are ready to go! With of all our stress (undue?) aside we should see some great fruit this year as it's had enough hang time to really develop some character before the sugars reach to high up the scale.

We'll have more to share as we pick up our grapes, bring 'em home, sort 'em, crush 'em and cold soak in prep for fermentation. For now picture us in the truck heading down the road with grapes in tow.

Highway 101 Southern Humboldt County

Next week for syrah??

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bet on the Dodgers, buy Dan wine

In the spirit of October and waiting for grape harvests, we made a wager on the NLCS. Aaron picked the Dodgers to win in 6 and I the Phabulous Phillies in 7. $20 bottle of wine to the winner and a $30 bottle if you get the number of games correct.

Being a standup punk, I am sure Aaron will treat me to a prime bottle of wine. One that I will drink with a Philly Cheesesteak while watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

web marketing 101 or "harvest is cumming"

So we installed the google analytics on our blog to see when, why and how our small number of readers are showing up and learned lesson #1 of web marketing which is SEX sells. I wrote a post titled "Wanna know why you're not getting laid tonight?" and our blog has found a whole new reader base.

Through the wonders of Google searches the following inquiries bring you to the deux punx blog:

getting laid when you're short (we're #2)
reasons why you're not getting laid (we're #1)
does not get laid (we're #1)
"baseball addiction +getting laid" (we're #1 <- and who searches for this???)
get laid in nyc tonight (we're a lowly #4)

so, yes the grapes are CUMMING soon, we're going to be picking at the BACKDOOR of this years harvest and we think this harvest will be GOLDEN

SHOWERS or not...

A couple SMUT peddlers - VIRGINS to the jersey scene

Oh, and to our new found reader base: WELCOME!! I know this isn't what you were looking for but we're glad you're here anyways, we consider ourselves your very own internet wino SLOPPY SECONDS.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

it's late and it's cold

By October 12th last year 2007's wahluke slope syrah was already in the barrel - one week into malo-lactic. This year? Not so much.

On top of a season that started off with a cool spring which brought late frosts in much of california and brought a slow start to Eastern Washington we have also faced a colder than usual fall. What this means is we're still waiting for grapes to get up to the ripeness we've been hoping for.

In Southern Humboldt it looks like we're right around the corner. We've got grapes that are ripe and still developing sugars. They're at lower sugar levels then we'd original hoped for but considering the amount of time that they've had on the vine it is most likely not a bad thing. Here's to a u-haul trailer filled with yellow bins of pinot noir grapes driving south on the 17th or 18th of October.

In Washington, well... Let's hope that the frosts over the weekend haven't fried the leaves on the syrah vines at Doc Stewart. With no leaves photosynthesis stops which means that the ripening process also stops. Sugar levels can still climb through evaporation but no more ripening and in turn no more fruit development. The optimist thinks that these syrah grapes have been on the vine for a long time by now and have had the time to develop and ripen into some great fruit - now we just need so more sugar. The pessimist is crying into his drink. Here's to a red Ford pickup, loaded with syrah grapes, crossing over the pass around the end of this month.

baseball and wine tiding the times:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Calm Before the Storm, Cleaning and Drinking

The Punx cleaned house today. Well, not the house, but the garage. Final items were bought at the hardware store and Big Lots. The TV is hooked up to cable so our grapes can watch every game of the MLB playoffs and World Series (and so the Punx can watch lots of VH1 Top 100 shows). The puncheons got thorough washings and SO2 rinses. And being fashion conscious dudes, we made sure our puncheon covers (doilies) are chic. Marketing director Brian stopped by to lend a hand as soon as all the hard work was done (I guess that's what the marketing department does). Neighbors and friends stopped by, the juke box was fired up, bottles were opened and a party ensued. I counted 7 corks this morning.

Aaron pours the So2.

What drought?

Marketing Meeting.

Neighborhood Party.

Next weekend may be a bit different. No showing up late Brian!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Domain Deux Punx?

Many people (meaning 3 or 4) have asked us if we grow our own grapes. It seems logical, if you make your own wine you must grow your own grapes. Experts say that 90% of a great wine is created in the vineyard and only 10% is in the winery. So this year we are giving 90% credit (and a couple grand) to Gilbert and Elk Prairie Vineyards. But rest assured the Punx are not resting on their lorals. Here is the world's first peak at Domain Deux Punx, our own vineyard.

Life is good at the Chateau!

Talk about terroir!

Cab Sauv harvest is near.

No VSP trellising here. We are all natural.