Search found 730 matches

by Stewart Johnson
January 9th, 2019, 9:42 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 29
Views: 1137

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

My subsurface drainage (at about 42" deep) is running pretty well, and the irrigation pond is filling. I think it was March before I hit this point last year, and I'm breathing easier about water this year.
by Stewart Johnson
December 24th, 2018, 11:05 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

I would think that electric shears might level the playing field between the sexes. It's no small investment, at about $2000/rig, but I do think it starts making more sense to optimize labor efficiency as cost and scarcity gets more acute. I've got one older Infaco set that doesn't include the safe...
by Stewart Johnson
December 12th, 2018, 9:09 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Do either of you find that cane pruning leaves the fruit more exposed (less canopy) and more susceptible to sun burn? I switched most of my vineyard to cane pruning last year, and I didn't see that the fruit was more exposed than on a cordon VSP. It wasn't to toughest year to avoid sunburn, so mayb...
by Stewart Johnson
December 12th, 2018, 8:30 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Adapt or perish. Here we are in the new era of farming. After harvest, pruning is the most time consuming and expensive task. Historically we've used the women's crew for every task except pruning. The ladies all carry pruning shears but usually need them for cutting live shoots while disbudding an...
by Stewart Johnson
December 1st, 2018, 7:56 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Was probably due to re-seed the cover also, but I didn't want to disturb everything that sprouted in the Oct 1, 2 rains. Plus, I was buried in grapes and didn't really have time. I was afraid all that grass might have died in the ensuing dry weeks, but it looks like it's thriving after the recent ra...
by Stewart Johnson
November 14th, 2018, 1:11 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

No scenic yellow of senescent leaves in the vineyard this year. A pretty healthy post-harvest canopy, thanks to abundant irrigation water this year, got blasted brown by frost sometime before my last trip out to dump pomace yesterday. No harm done, since everything was picked in Oct, and most of the...
by Stewart Johnson
November 10th, 2018, 6:52 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Rhys 2016 Pricing
Replies: 87
Views: 6493

Re: Rhys 2016 Pricing

Nobody welcomes repeated price increases, but consider the alternative model. You can either stack up good vintage after good vintage and earn your way into elite status, with successive concomitant price increases. Or, you can debut as if you had already earned your way into the upper echelon and t...
by Stewart Johnson
November 6th, 2018, 2:49 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Also on the subject of yields -- last year, at this point, I was bemoaning the fact that I didn't have enough water left after the Labor Day heat spike to give my vines a decent post-harvest irrigation and put them to bed well fed. I was concerned that a lack of carb storage was going to bode ill fo...
by Stewart Johnson
November 5th, 2018, 9:59 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Is anyone else starting to get the feeling that this is a really strong vintage? I know we're cartoon-like in proclaiming great vintages every year, but this time I really mean it. And I want to link that to crop load. This vintage reminds me of 2013, which was also a very heavy year that came out o...
by Stewart Johnson
November 1st, 2018, 4:46 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Forgive me, Stewart, but I am not totally familiar with your winery. Are you growing as well as doing all that hands on winemaking? Responsible for sales, too? I feel your struggle through your post! Hope you get everything in barrel soon. Hey Merrill. Yes, I'm the grower and winemaker. Sales too, ...
by Stewart Johnson
October 30th, 2018, 4:35 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

It's the point of the year where I always start to struggle to close out the vintage. Once you get everything picked, hauled and loaded into fermenters, most of the stress and herculean work days are behind you. With the real urgency passed, my body thinks it's time to sleep, eat, drink and be merry...
by Stewart Johnson
October 27th, 2018, 10:01 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Wrapped up harvest with the syrah this week. It was only 22 brix, but a yellowjacket infestation kind of forced my hand. I figured they would head back to the nest by 10pm, but quite a few seem to bed down in the clusters. Fortunately, they were too sleepy to sting the pickers, but they came wanderi...
by Stewart Johnson
October 7th, 2018, 5:19 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

I'm in similar shape with syrah, the last thing I still have hanging. 20B on Wed after the rain. Heavy crop, but loose bunches that all looked like clean yesterday. I don't think I'll ever get my viognier and syrah synced up to make a co-ferment easy. I bagged up 350 lbs of lightly pressed viognier ...
by Stewart Johnson
October 5th, 2018, 2:20 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Day 22 and provisions exhausted -- beer, coffee, cereal ... all gone. A half bag of chips is looking like the day's ration. Then, out of the mist, appears my barrel sales rep (Mathew Conrady, TB Tonnellerie) bearing a couple gourmet sandwiches, homemade pasta salad and a six-pack of Lagunitas. Best ...
by Stewart Johnson
October 4th, 2018, 10:38 am
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Pinot Days - Some quick random thoughts
Replies: 35
Views: 2034

Re: Pinot Days - Some quick random thoughts

Lisa sent out a (public) note saying that Steve's recovery was unlikely to progress to the point that he would be able to resume the lead in organizing the event, and that she was unable to make it work with the time demands of teaching, family and Steve's recovery. Good people, and this was sad news.
by Stewart Johnson
October 4th, 2018, 10:11 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

I picked the viognier and mopped up the last of the pinot (pommard) last night. I really expected a mess out there after showers Mon and Tues followed by a very still and humid day on Wed. Plus, it's a huge crop, and the grapes to be picked were the biggest berried ones I have. If my vineyard is eve...
by Stewart Johnson
September 26th, 2018, 12:37 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Going to try an 'early morning' pick tomorrow. Bought 25 headlamps and we're gonna start at 6:00 am. Really can't see the fruit clearly now until about 6:45 or even later if it's foggy. We need more picking time at the cool part of the day. I'm not shifting to night pick, just trying to get a few m...
by Stewart Johnson
September 22nd, 2018, 2:57 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Winery Insurance
Replies: 10
Views: 1311

Re: Winery Insurance

I cut my premiums by almost 50% switching from Nationwide Agribusiness to a policy through Bidwell Insurance in Chico. I connected with them because they showed up at a Garagiste tasting where they were specifically targeting small producers. Here's the contact info for my agent Andrea Zigan Bidwell...
by Stewart Johnson
September 21st, 2018, 1:42 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

I had some pinot hanging naked that needed to get pulled off before the birds got it. Some of it was excess from a sparkling pick last Friday. We had dropped nets and pulled leaves in preparing to pick. The crop came in so heavy that we filled the order with rows left over, and those rows were going...
by Stewart Johnson
September 21st, 2018, 1:30 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Hanna Wine Titrator
Replies: 7
Views: 534

Re: Hanna Wine Titrator

I talked with a guy who works with lab equipment pretty extensively, and his take was that Hanna is kind of a money pit. Parts, especially electrodes, fail frequently. That is consistent with my experience with an older Hanna SO2 titrator, but I was hoping that things had changed in the 10 years sin...
by Stewart Johnson
September 17th, 2018, 11:11 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: TNs: The worst tasting we've done in years (CA Pinots)
Replies: 320
Views: 18955

Re: TNs: The worst tasting we've done in years (CA Pinots)

I got a note from David Z, after he had quit the board, in which he introduced himself by saying that I might know him as the guy everyone on Berserkers hated for for saying that all wines are shit. I generally appreciate it when consumers bother to write up their impressions, but I really appreciat...
by Stewart Johnson
September 15th, 2018, 3:42 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Picked pinot for sparkling last night. I delivered it to a winery that was bringing in Calistoga cab at the same time. Seemed a bit early for that, since most folks seem to be running on an "old normal" timetable this year. I think they have "old normal" or "neo-classical" (if you follow Gilman's us...
by Stewart Johnson
September 5th, 2018, 10:45 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Hanna Wine Titrator
Replies: 7
Views: 534

Hanna Wine Titrator

Anybody have any experience with the all-in-one unit, the HI-901W-01? For about $4000 you get pH, TA, VA, RS, YAN, SO2 capability. I had a Hanna SO2 titrator that has crapped out and is too obsolete to be serviced and am considering this one, but I'd like to hear if anyone else has been down this ro...
by Stewart Johnson
July 25th, 2018, 10:39 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Just started to see color in a few berries in the Clone 777 section (always my earliest). That's at least 2 weeks behind years like 2014 and 2015. I'm also hanging a pretty good crop and expect that will help push harvest back to a more civilized late Sept/early Oct window that I used to consider no...
by Stewart Johnson
July 25th, 2018, 9:23 am
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Zowie! The 2016 Kendric Marin "Petaluma Gap" PN
Replies: 9
Views: 569

Zowie! The 2016 Kendric Marin "Petaluma Gap" PN

Thanks for the amazing tasting note, Paul!! Ditto. I'll be shamelessly stealing chunks of it. I'd rather take a beating than write a note about my own wine, and, when I do force myself, I end up with a lot more accompanying blather. I should note that the price Paul mentions assumes you have the di...
by Stewart Johnson
July 4th, 2018, 10:18 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Used winery equipment buyers or brokers
Replies: 2
Views: 322

Used winery equipment buyers or brokers

The main one that I'm aware of is Transition Equipment https://www.transitionequipment.com/. I think they are state-wide, but I'm not 100% sure.
by Stewart Johnson
July 4th, 2018, 1:18 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Minerality Seminar
Replies: 7
Views: 489

Minerality Seminar

It seems like they are pushing for more acidic wines, which, viola! acidic wines seem more minerally! Are far as I have ever heard, acid is the component most people think ascribe as minerality. I think there was near consensus that acidity was a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement for miner...
by Stewart Johnson
June 15th, 2018, 11:49 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Minerality Seminar
Replies: 7
Views: 489

Minerality Seminar

So much for terrior champagne.gif Most of the folks there weren't throwing in the towel re terroir as being an important contributor to minerality. It was more that this part was less well established, and less actionable, than the winemaking part. On the other hand, one of the wines presented was ...
by Stewart Johnson
June 13th, 2018, 10:52 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Minerality Seminar
Replies: 7
Views: 489

Minerality Seminar

I attended a seminar on minerality that Vinquiry hosted on Tues. This is from memory, as I've mis-laid my notes, and it's just a few of the take-home messages. It's still very early in this field, and lots of ideas offered were pretty tentative. I don't think anything very solid came out of the vine...
by Stewart Johnson
June 13th, 2018, 9:16 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Notes from the Petaluma Gap AVA Celebration – May 29th, 2018
Replies: 8
Views: 427

Notes from the Petaluma Gap AVA Celebration – May 29th, 2018

Now that I read this, I'm kicking myself for not getting by the Guarachi table to try the Sun Chase chardonnay. I think that's consistently one of the best chard vineyards in the state. I tried and liked the Cline viognier, but I just grabbed a splash and dashed back to my table without getting the ...
by Stewart Johnson
May 30th, 2018, 9:23 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Way too windy to spray today/tonight for me. I'm not in great shape in getting shoots tucked between the wires (a battle I lose every Spring), and I'm sure I snapped off a lot of loose ones that are waving in the wind.
by Stewart Johnson
May 16th, 2018, 9:32 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Under row weed management
Replies: 35
Views: 5492

Under row weed management

Stewart - I have one of my distributors(Helena Chem) looking to see if Weed Slayer is registered in my region. My guess is that this formulation is too new for state review in my neck of the woods. In looking at it a bit more it appears to be a newer improved version of Burnout II which is a clove ...
by Stewart Johnson
May 16th, 2018, 9:22 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

Roederer got their new Pelanc harvester out today with the three row spray attachment. They can spray 3 complete rows on both sides with one pass. Damn impressive! IMG_20180511_123549001.jpg Oooh! Aaah! Way out of my league, but I love checking out gear like that. The tubes from the fan look pretty...
by Stewart Johnson
May 7th, 2018, 10:44 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Under row weed management
Replies: 35
Views: 5492

Under row weed management

Anybody tried Weed Slayer? It's a new organic herbicide. It's supposed to be systemic, like Roundup. It's about triple or quadruple the cost of Roundup, but it might be worthwhile if it works as well. I've tried a few other organic sprays, and they maybe made the weeds a little sad, but nothing more...
by Stewart Johnson
April 1st, 2018, 11:01 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Electric Pruners
Replies: 3
Views: 535

Electric Pruners

Do you like the protective glove? I have an older model Infaco that scares the crap out of me when anyone else uses it. I habitually catch at least one finger on my left hand each season with manual shears, and the electric pruner is so powerful that it wouldn't bat an eye as it lopped off a digit. ...
by Stewart Johnson
February 28th, 2018, 10:02 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 627
Views: 28306

2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

I need budbreak to hold off a week, but it has an any-day-now look. You'd think the vines would take heed of the recent cold and hang tight, but I'm afraid they're not that smart. I'm already past the 2016 budbreak date, right at the 2015 and about 10 days from the 2017 date. I'm shifting a lot of t...
by Stewart Johnson
February 26th, 2018, 9:51 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Grower/Winery split of bottled wine
Replies: 3
Views: 568

Grower/Winery split of bottled wine

Hi Stewart, is the price for grapes intended for sparkling wine less expensive than that of still wine? Is this due to the brix measurement indicating less time on the vine? Thanks! Sparkling wine grapes generally sell for less. The biggest factor is that sparkling growers can hang a heavier crop l...
by Stewart Johnson
February 21st, 2018, 10:33 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Grower/Winery split of bottled wine
Replies: 3
Views: 568

Grower/Winery split of bottled wine

I'm thinking of partnering with a sparkling wine producer who wants some pinot from my vineyard. It's not really worthwhile for me to sell fruit at sparkling wine prices, but it would be fun to have some bubbles to offer if, and when, I get a tasting room open -- hence, the idea of splitting the fin...
by Stewart Johnson
February 12th, 2018, 11:33 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Wine Storage in (or around) SF?
Replies: 6
Views: 483

Wine Storage in (or around) SF?

Treasure Island Winery offers case goods storage, and I think it meets most of the requirements. Receiving might be a hitch, as I don't think it's staffed 100% of the time. Here's their WBM ad https://www.winebusiness.com/classified ... gid=150047
by Stewart Johnson
February 6th, 2018, 8:48 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Attn: East Bay home winemakers
Replies: 7
Views: 1066

Attn: East Bay home winemakers

Tim Corliss wrote:I tried to contact Bill, but no luck.
Sorry Tim, I should have posted the follow up. The fruit got picked up by one of my former tenant wineries. I haven't heard the post-harvest report on the fruit.
by Stewart Johnson
February 5th, 2018, 12:04 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Rose help
Replies: 8
Views: 1020

Rose help

How did it turn out? Wish I'd seen this question earlier. You'd be surprised how much color you lose between SO2, filtration and bentonite if you're heat-stabilizing. It turned out to be a fortuitous error when the subsequent heat spike came along. The would-be rose got blended back into the main l...
by Stewart Johnson
December 1st, 2017, 6:12 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: DorothyGaiter on JonBonne/Rules Book
Replies: 11
Views: 1100

DorothyGaiter on JonBonne/Rules Book

Oh good. I'm glad it wasn't just me -- thought I had developed ADD when I eventually lost hope that she was coming to her point and decided I couldn't wade in any further.
by Stewart Johnson
November 12th, 2017, 9:23 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread
Replies: 662
Views: 43534

2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

I hear your concern/frustration. I did not have enough water to put mine to bed, either, and I usually give them the final feeding of fish emulsion. I still have at least 50% of the canopy on there or more. Perhaps now that I have water, I'll give them 10 gallons of fish. They are not at the edge o...
by Stewart Johnson
November 11th, 2017, 10:19 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread
Replies: 662
Views: 43534

2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

During the Labor Day heat, I irrigated nearly continuously to get thru it. That went well enough, but it took almost all the water I had in the pond. I really wasn't able to give the vines the post-harvest soak that I would have liked in order to sustain the canopy thru a longer period of carb stora...
by Stewart Johnson
November 6th, 2017, 6:33 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Bailiwick closing
Replies: 11
Views: 980

Bailiwick closing

I used to sell them grapes also. I knew they were winding things up, but it's still a bummer to see the final throwing in of the towel. The wines were very good and the prices were reasonable. It's disappointing that that wasn't a successful formula.
by Stewart Johnson
November 5th, 2017, 5:33 pm
Forum: Offline Planner
Topic: Pinot Days SF 11/11 Discount
Replies: 0
Views: 278

Pinot Days SF 11/11 Discount

I've got several tastings to plug next week, but Pinot Days is the one which gave me a discount code that I can pass on to you, so it gets top billing. This is the return to action for Pinot Days after some serious health problems befell Steve Rigisich. His wife, Lisa, has taken up the organizationa...
by Stewart Johnson
October 27th, 2017, 1:13 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Most Played Albums of Harvest 2017
Replies: 11
Views: 903

Most Played Albums of Harvest 2017

I'm a slave to Pandora, and, even there, I'm often too lazy/busy to choose more carefully than "shuffle." Galactic, Morphine and Medeski, Martin and Wood stations got heaviest rotation. Some things got moved way down the playlist when they don't seem to suit crush (Primus, Rage Against the Machine) ...
by Stewart Johnson
October 9th, 2017, 7:50 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Pumpover and punch down questions
Replies: 10
Views: 953

Pumpover and punch down questions

Firehosing creates enough turbulence to turn over the top layer of the cap a little. I have worked in wineries that just did sprinkler pumpovers day after day, and the same layer of grapes took the impact (big tanks and a long fall) and turned to mush. I do like the aeration of an early pumpover, an...
by Stewart Johnson
October 5th, 2017, 9:31 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Interesting Fermentation - Opinions?
Replies: 7
Views: 693

Interesting Fermentation - Opinions?

I'd probably go with the high VA hypothesis, but another one occurs to me -- in the absence of good temp control, the super high pH and YAN sounds like a recipe for the initial fermentation stage to go so fast that the yeast killed themselves by producing alc inside the cells faster than they could ...
by Stewart Johnson
September 26th, 2017, 12:22 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Central Coast Wine Tour, July 2017 (Part 1) – Deovlet, Cutruzzola, Levo, Giornata
Replies: 1
Views: 167

Central Coast Wine Tour, July 2017 (Part 1) – Deovlet, Cutruzzola, Levo, Giornata

I just perused the fuller version on Grape-Nutz and was glad to see you giving Cutruzzola and Levo some exposure. Both were Garagiste favorites for me at both the Northern Exposure and the Paso iterations of that event. Those tastings are pretty heavy on Paso fruit, and these producers, working with...

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