A site to share my adult and children's writing, poetry and thoughts for the week with family and friends, old and new.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Trials and Tribulations of Nod Vineyards
They started as small sticks, cut from our friend’s vineyard in Dundee, Oregon. They were nurtured in 1 gallon pots for 2 years before they found their permanent home in our back field. These Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir starts are now producing beautiful grapes that are the starting point for Nod Vineyard’s wine.
That sounds much better than the wine actually tastes. We are still working out details to make the perfect wine, and learn by making mistakes along the way. September 2009 was our fifth harvest. The books say it takes that long for the vines to mature to make a good wine and our results seem to corroborate that. The 2009 Pinot Gris, bottled in February this year is the best so far. The 2009 Pinot Noir is still in the 5 gallon glass carboys aging, waiting until fall to be bottled.
Along the way we have purchased the supplies to turn the grapes into wine. A stemmer-crusher, a press, 30 gallon commercial grade garbage cans, 5 gallon glass carboys, and all the testing and treating supplies. It takes Cris and I two days to harvest and crush the Nod Vineyard grapes, one day for each variety.
Cris is the maintenance man for the field, in charge of pruning and spraying. He made his own contraption using a spray apparatus hooked up to his leaf blower. It’s pretty comical to watch. He sprays with a weak solution of organic sulfur to prevent botrytis (or grape rot) just until the grapes have reached a certain sugar content.
My job is as the chemist. I test the grapes for sugar content, pH, and acidity to determine the perfect time to harvest. I mix and add sulfite and yeast to the must to turn the sugar into alcohol. It’s a major process for the first couple of weeks until the primary yeast has finished its job. I also am the recorder and historian, keeping track of what we did each day in an effort to create the perfect system.
It takes both of us to rack the carboys, which we do every several months to get rid of the sediment (lees) on the bottom. We love watching the color get clearer as the wine ages. And of course we have to test it along the way.
We set up shop in our kitchen to do the bottling. Getting the bottles ready is a big process that has to start several days ahead of time in order to get the bottles clean and dry before we use them.
We made a storage area into a wine cellar. I painted and Cris designed and welded the wine racks that cover two full walls.
One day we will have a vintage that we can proudly serve to friends and family. One day soon, I hope. Because.......