September 13, Thursday.
It’s time for harvest. In your mind everything ripens at the same time; in my case, apples and grapes including all the different varieties.
You start thinking about how you are going to do everything. You have to have all your bins, tanks and barrels ready….lining up all your ducks.
This year I am hoping to make Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon in reds; and Semillon and Chasselas in whites. I won’t be making Pinot Noir this year. My growers got hit with a terrible outbreak of powdery mildew, sucking the life out of their well manicured vineyard.
I’m getting grapes from four different locations in eastern Washington: the Malbec will come from White Heron Vineyards up north near Quincy, the Cabernet Franc from Portteus at Zillah and some from Upland Estates in Sunnyside; the Cabernet will come from Dwelley Vineyard in Walla Walla; and the Merlot from Paul Portteus.
I get my Semillon from various uncontracted vineyards from Bill Den Hoed near Grandview.
Today, I was trying to filter some Semillon into stainless barrels and my pump gave out on me. I had to scramble to order a replacement. And now I have to wait for it to arrive. I need to move the Semillon out of tank so I can use that tank to pick up grape juice at Portteus next week. Hopefully the new pump will arrive on Monday or Tuesday. Portteus grapes are ready way ahead of normal. Others don’t seem to be this early.
Today I talked to the supplier for Semillon and they said they are about normal which means mid to late October. Yesterday I checked the Chasselas and it read about 12.4 Brix and is right on schedule for the first of October.
Suddenly, things are falling into order. I should be getting grapes next week, maybe the Malbec then the Merlot, then the Cabernet Franc. Regardless, I’ll be doing a fair amount of driving.
This time of year the drive to eastern Washington is spectacular and I love it, or I forget how much I love it until I actually get on the road.
Apples a bit weird this year. There must have been an early warm period because early apples are plentiful but later varieties are as available. I haven’t checked on my sources for cider varieties.
Oh well, c’est la vie! Be ready for anything life can throw at you. I am amazed at how life is thrown at you and how you have to respond. I have learned to fix all kinds of stuff. I thank Willie for that, the person I bought the winery from. He wasn’t afraid to tackle anything. I’m not nearly as mechanical as he is but I am observant and can often figure it out especially if I have someone like him to work with me.
Oh, geez, I almost forgot. David Wagoner read his poetry at the winery. It was absolutely spectacular. Forty people paid to hear him. His poetry is very moving and usually follows a story line. Now when I read one of his poems, I read it in his voice.
I wonder who will be part of our summer concert for next year?