Search found 827 matches

by Stewart Johnson
January 12th, 2021, 6:29 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 22
Views: 1044

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

My irrigation pond is empty. It's never been this dry in 20 years with this vineyard. I don't think the soil is moist past a few inches deep, so I'm a long way from being ready to start the growing season and a long way from having any runoff to collect. I've been saved by late rain before, but, rig...
by Stewart Johnson
December 16th, 2020, 3:52 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Testing equipment
Replies: 7
Views: 904

Re: Testing equipment

I use this, made by a company called Vinmetrica - https://vinmetrica.com/product/vinmetricas-sc-300-pro-kit/ It basically turns SO2 tests into a titration which is pretty easy to do and to me, easier than AO method. We are even small production than you but we are very close to ETS labs. We send sa...
by Stewart Johnson
October 20th, 2020, 11:31 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Update on my barrel of Pinot: my friends at Roederer did labs for me this morning. 15% ALC....oops on the water add! It's not dry yet and not thru malo yet either. My warehouse is around 60-65 degrees some we're going stir the Lee's and love it outside during the warm hours of the day. It still has...
by Stewart Johnson
October 20th, 2020, 12:25 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Storing "empty" barrels with lees
Replies: 6
Views: 1220

Re: Storing "empty" barrels with lees

I've heard of several wineries that do this. The "recipe" I heard was, drain out the lees as well as possible, do not wash, then gas with SO2, bung, cup or tape. Before you want to use the barrel again, wash it well, then it's ready. That's what I have gathered, but I'm unclear on the rat...
by Stewart Johnson
October 17th, 2020, 9:22 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Storing "empty" barrels with lees
Replies: 6
Views: 1220

Re: Storing "empty" barrels with lees

Bryan Parker wrote: October 16th, 2020, 11:41 am I believe this a way to do pied de cuve.
I don't think that's it. They will be advertised for sale as holding lees plus a heavy SO2 solution and inert gas.
by Stewart Johnson
October 10th, 2020, 10:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Storing "empty" barrels with lees
Replies: 6
Views: 1220

Storing "empty" barrels with lees

I see this practice advertised in the used barrel classifieds, but I've never heard the rationale behind it. It's done by reputable wineries, and I'm sure there is a good reason, but I'm unclear on the concept. Anyone know?
by Stewart Johnson
October 3rd, 2020, 11:39 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I closed out picking on Thurday night with 3 tons of syrah. It was only 22 brix, but the vines were just looking done for the year, and my pond is too empty to try to nurse them any further along. Most of the vineyard looks more vibrant than usual at this stage of the year, but syrah really pitches ...
by Stewart Johnson
September 22nd, 2020, 3:15 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Re: smoke taint and insurance I spoke with my adjuster yesterday and learned a few things. 1) You need a separate lab analysis from samples taken before picking for each variety. You don't need results before picking or making wine. 2) You should pick even badly tainted fruit for the purposes of mai...
by Stewart Johnson
September 19th, 2020, 10:53 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I had been noticing a pretty pronounced spiciness in all the freshly crushed pinot fermenters, but I hadn't thought too much about it. Then caught it again last night when pressing the chard, and it dawned on me that it's probably guaiacol/eugenol from the smoke. It's a spiced apple cider sort of ar...
by Stewart Johnson
September 18th, 2020, 9:15 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

All the pinot is in -- at about the point I'd like to think about starting to pick, for still wine, in a normal year. I'm still waiting on smoke taint results for a sample sent off on 8/26. I thought I caught a whiff of ash in one lot, but when you're looking intently for one thing, you tend to find...
by Stewart Johnson
September 12th, 2020, 12:32 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Turned the corner, aromatically, in the winery today -- from overwhelming banana (kloekera/amyl acetate) to overwhelming fart (stressed yeast/reduction/H2S).
by Stewart Johnson
September 9th, 2020, 3:09 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I've never seen a day like this. The sun never came up. It's been an orange-ish pre-dawn all day. I'll take the high temp of 62 about now, but I'm not sure it really matters since the world is so clearly about to end.
by Stewart Johnson
September 7th, 2020, 10:15 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I looked up from the macro I was leafing a few nights ago to see one of my guys (hardest worker, worst picker) preparing to consolidate a couple picking lugs by stomping on the grapes in one lug to create more room. Needless to say, we had to review some of the basics on fruit handling.
by Stewart Johnson
September 3rd, 2020, 10:54 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Another GD heat wave coming this weekend. I irrigated my way through the last one and will try again with this one. It's not a great choice, but i'd rather risk having to saignee than to pick up 3 brix in a weekend. The picks so far have been for sparkling and rose, and I'm not too worried about a l...
by Stewart Johnson
August 25th, 2020, 6:57 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I've always dodged the smoke and thought I was this year too, but It's gotten pretty heavy at ground level the last few days. Now, I'm researching smoke taint winemaking protocols, testing services and insurance coverage. What looked like an excellent vintage seems to be falling apart at the end, an...
by Stewart Johnson
August 22nd, 2020, 10:49 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Hit 19.4B tonight and had a sparkling pick called for Tues night. Never thought that civilized folk picked in August, but here I am.
I'm opening up irrigation lines that I haven't used since the 2017 heat spike.
by Stewart Johnson
August 20th, 2020, 10:15 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Bottled today (with Celebrity Bottler Ken Zinns) and then headed out to the vineyard. No smoke that I've been able to smell at ground level in the vineyard yet. I picked up about 0.5 brix in the prospective sparkling rows (the only ones I'm sampling already) in the past 2 days, but temps at 7pm were...
by Stewart Johnson
August 19th, 2020, 9:11 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: AlderYarrow: Unsung Urban Wine Hero
Replies: 7
Views: 590

Re: AlderYarrow: Unsung Urban Wine Hero

That's excellent that Alder gives Ken his proper recognition. Nobody's more immersed in Bay Area winemaking.
by Stewart Johnson
August 18th, 2020, 9:16 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Got 18.5 brix today in a section of pinot going for sparkling. That's about 10 days ahead of where I'd like to hit that point. I'm trying to irrigate my way thru this heat and opened up lines today that I hadn't used since the 2017 heat spike. Meanwhile, I'm trying to patch up about 3/4 of a mile of...
by Stewart Johnson
August 17th, 2020, 11:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Vacation at the winery today, The mind numbing boredom of bottling seemed like bliss because Treasure Island (outside) topped out at 67F today. Tomorrow, I'm booted from the winery because my tenant winery is bringing in fruit from Lodi. Seems insanely early, but what's not weird about 2020?
by Stewart Johnson
August 16th, 2020, 8:56 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

f*ck this. Power out Fri night because our number came up first for the rolling blackout. Woke up in the middle of the night last night by wild windstorm and lightning strikes everywhere. I didn't realize my wife was out of bed, but she was in the backyard before I was. No power at home again this m...
by Stewart Johnson
August 5th, 2020, 11:32 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Winemakers/Cellar Rats: Is there a way to create one mixing tank by using multiple smaller tanks?
Replies: 16
Views: 2226

Re: Winemakers/Cellar Rats: Is there a way to create one mixing tank by using multiple smaller tanks?

Note that you can also get those tanks with glycol - something to consider in the case you want to use one for cold stability or controlling temperatures in the future. Cheers. I wanted that - until I checked the prices of glycol chillers! Holy cow! My customers will have to spit out tartrate cryst...
by Stewart Johnson
August 3rd, 2020, 6:25 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

It's been a few days since I've been in the vineyard. I had to go up to St. Helena this morning, and everything I saw from the road looked completely through veraison. I think I did the same thing and had the same reaction last year--"Cripes, harvest is bearing down earlier than anticipated!&qu...
by Stewart Johnson
August 1st, 2020, 2:08 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Winemakers/Cellar Rats: Is there a way to create one mixing tank by using multiple smaller tanks?
Replies: 16
Views: 2226

Re: Winemakers/Cellar Rats: Is there a way to create one mixing tank by using multiple smaller tanks?

OK, thanks. Bare with me for this mathematical exercise and question: 1. In tank A I put the contents of barrel 1 and 2. 2. In tank B I put the contents of barrel 3 and 4. 3. Into a separate tank C, I transfer half of tank A and half of tank B to mix. Tank C is now full and has an equal amount of l...
by Stewart Johnson
July 29th, 2020, 10:16 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Last spray (I hope) today. It's been many years since I've really cultivated to the degree I've done this year, and I was really aware of how much freaking dust is involved in that MO today. I used to think tractor cabs were for sissies. My tractor is a low-slung, vineyard panther that is great on a...
by Stewart Johnson
July 29th, 2020, 10:02 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

It doesn't matter the size or duration - it's getting it RIGHT that matters. I was out working in the vineyard yesterday morning and found another handful of colored berries. It is definitely on! I'm with Casey on this one. Crush is very definitely about the number of tons you move and about durati...
by Stewart Johnson
July 29th, 2020, 9:58 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Fungicide question for the chemically literate
Replies: 3
Views: 1664

Re: Fungicide question for the chemically literate

Well, I went ahead with the ProxyCarb (Sodium Percarbonate, as a substitute for PerCarb) from the cellar about ten days ago, as an experiment. No apparent phytotoxicity. As to efficacy, there was no observed mildew before or after. Hard to say anything with a great deal of confidence. I was less com...
by Stewart Johnson
July 20th, 2020, 12:31 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Why, Stewart? It's the same every year, just the timing can vary. Merrill, when your harvest lasts 4-5 hours I can see you being relaxed about it. Mine is 7+ weeks of 16 clients taking 600 tons it's nothing I look forward to....it's what I look forward to being DONE! It doesn't matter the size or d...
by Stewart Johnson
July 14th, 2020, 8:53 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

If I saw a colored up berry right now, I'd avert my eyes and pretend I hadn't. Not mentally prepared to contemplate harvest yet.
by Stewart Johnson
July 13th, 2020, 1:06 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Fungicide question for the chemically literate
Replies: 3
Views: 1664

Fungicide question for the chemically literate

I looked at the UC Davis fungicide trials for the first time in several years tonight https://ucanr.edu/sites/eskalenlab/files/316471.pdf . You have to go to pg 22 to get some quickly digestible results. PerCarb and Oxidate seem pretty benign and perform pretty well. My question is whether these spe...
by Stewart Johnson
July 13th, 2020, 12:26 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Where is the mountains for you Stewart? I grew up in the Hwy 88 area, and that's still the home turf -- the Carson Pass area, generally. With family now, it's Pinecrest Lake. It's up 108, north of Yosemite. We started going there because Cal's Lair of the Bear camp is nearby. A lot of the appeal fo...
by Stewart Johnson
July 12th, 2020, 8:44 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Got away to the mountains for a few days, and the car thermometer read 103 coming back thru the Central Valley today. That added some urgency to getting back in time to get some water on the vines this afternoon. My irrigation system is pretty tuneable but not very sophisicated. I have risers along ...
by Stewart Johnson
July 12th, 2020, 8:19 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: ETS & Enartis/Vinquiry Laboratories to Merge
Replies: 4
Views: 1847

Re: ETS & Enartis/Vinquiry Laboratories to Merge

I was sorry to hear this. I don't have anything against ETS except its location. I usually have some other reason to head toward Windsor, including going to Vinquiry for supplies, and could usually drop samples at the lab on the same trip. With Scott Labs practically shut down, the only half-way con...
by Stewart Johnson
July 3rd, 2020, 9:59 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I used Weed Slayer for the first time this year. It has to be applied early, which I don't like. I had some rows where I only applied it to part of the row, because the other part of the row had big, recent cuts on the trunk where we were doing trunk renewal. It was definitely better than nothing, b...
by Stewart Johnson
June 28th, 2020, 9:25 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Heavy winds forecast tonight, and that doesn't do fragile new grafts any good. So, the day was spent in hurry up mode to finish yet another pass battening down the new shoots. I only graft about a half acre at a time, but that patch seems to take almost as much work as the other 8. As an aside, I wo...
by Stewart Johnson
June 19th, 2020, 10:10 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)
Replies: 33
Views: 5050

Re: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)

Thanks. I see what you mean. The ShipCompliant article linked in the article you cite is pretty on point. BTW my email to CDTFA on this subject was met with the promise of a response within 20 days. I came across a link a while ago, and right before they applied the new rule. But it was not that wi...
by Stewart Johnson
June 17th, 2020, 9:16 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)
Replies: 33
Views: 5050

Re: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)

Greg -- that tidbit about the sales tax threshold is news to me. I did a quick cruise around the CDTFA website and can't find any reference to a sales threshold that would exempt/activate the local tax requirement. Can you point me to a source for that? Quick lookup: https://www.qbwinerysolutions.c...
by Stewart Johnson
June 17th, 2020, 9:14 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)
Replies: 33
Views: 5050

Re: Wine Club Software for Small Producer (Cheap but powerful?)

Greg -- that tidbit about the sales tax threshold is news to me. I did a quick cruise around the CDTFA website and can't find any reference to a sales threshold that would exempt/activate the local tax requirement. Can you point me to a source for that?
by Stewart Johnson
May 25th, 2020, 7:28 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

First day of the heat wave in the vineyard, and it was a rough one. I have a half acre grafted over from pinot to chard, and those plants need water early and often. This is the 4th time I've irrigated already, and I'd never consider irrigating regular vines before June or July. It's a section that ...
by Stewart Johnson
May 23rd, 2020, 8:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Have not seen a tick and typically don't. Are you talking in the vineyard itself? Yes, in the vineyard. I'm surrounded by creeks, woodlands and pasture, so maybe I get more than in areas that are more vineyard adjacent. I also don't usually cultivate much, so there is often more grass for them to l...
by Stewart Johnson
May 22nd, 2020, 9:36 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Heading into bloom, and the heat this weekend is just what the Dr. ordered. It was shaping up to be a crappy and drawn out set period, but I hope a little heat will push things along. On a completely separate note, have other CA vineyard folk noticed that 2020 is the year of the super fast tick? Tic...
by Stewart Johnson
May 15th, 2020, 12:13 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: DIAM & avoiding oxidised white burgundy
Replies: 113
Views: 4782

Re: DIAM & avoiding oxidised white burgundy

DIAM is no longer the only game in town for supercritical CO2 treated agglomerated corks. Trefinos claims the same treatment process. I used DIAM 10s very happily for 5 vintages and switched to Trefinos C3 (supposedly on par with DIAM 10 on OTR) last year. So far, so good with both. I gave Trefinos ...
by Stewart Johnson
May 13th, 2020, 8:52 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Sprayed today and spotted a couple rootstock vines flowering, so the rest of the vineyard should be getting there in a few days. Drizzly today, and it looks that way for the next week. It's not good timing, even if I'm not flowering yet, because this steady moisture isn't going to help the caps dry ...
by Stewart Johnson
April 23rd, 2020, 12:46 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Stewart Is it widespread or localized? Btw enjoyed a Kendric chard over the weekend Thanks Timmy. The chard budded out a little earlier than the pinot and took the brunt. Viognier at the bottom of the vineyard got a little scorched, but it was a little behind the chard and the burn is more scattere...
by Stewart Johnson
April 19th, 2020, 2:17 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I lost quite a few primary shoots to frost. Mostly in chardonnay in a flatter area. Secondaries are pushing fine now, but the yield won't be as good as it might have been without the frost.
by Stewart Johnson
April 15th, 2020, 11:36 pm
Forum: Berserker Quarantine Relief
Topic: Kendric Vineyards Offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1592

Re: Kendric Vineyards Offer

Sorry Evan, that sale expired. I'd drop this thread off the list, but I don't see how to do that. Since it has other people's posts in it, I probably can't.
by Stewart Johnson
April 6th, 2020, 3:53 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 613
Views: 41064

Re: 2020 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

48 hour total just passed an inch. That's something anyway. Depending on the type of soil you have that might go down about 4-8 inches. Still not much to get excited about.....but we'll take it. Does the amount of water you use in frost protection get your soil up to something like field capacity a...
by Stewart Johnson
March 29th, 2020, 4:57 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??
Replies: 36
Views: 1992

Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

They pulled some from Azaya, in nearby Hick's Valley. I think that was a Pierce's issue, but I could be wrong. At the home ranch, they have done some grafting after finding that some of their initial choices wouldn't ripen, but I'm not aware of them pulling vines there.
by Stewart Johnson
March 29th, 2020, 1:06 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??
Replies: 36
Views: 1992

Re: Yup....

It's definitely not Gary's. It's not even the coldest Syrah site in the SLH. Double L is a few miles north of Gary's and has a Syrah block. Also not Ascona. It's a pretty cool site, produces excellent wines, and is definitely a site to watch (like the Madson team) but like most SCM vineyards, it is...
by Stewart Johnson
March 28th, 2020, 12:57 pm
Forum: Berserker Quarantine Relief
Topic: Kendric Vineyards Offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1592

Re: Kendric Vineyards Offer

Stewart, Any commentary/notes on the wines being offered/your wine-making style(s)? All but the sangio come from my vineyard in Marin, so they skew to the cooler climate end of the CA spectrum. The sangio is from my Mom's Shenandoah Valley vineyard. So, definitely warmer but picked in, I hope, a ti...

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