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.

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