Search found 744 matches

by Stewart Johnson
June 14th, 2019, 7:12 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

What does a major heat spike like this do to flowering vines? I think a heat spike can be helpful at transitional stages like flowering and veraison in getting the vineyard synched up. Cool weather during set and veraison seems to involve more stragglers. I probably had some lagging viognier that w...
by Stewart Johnson
June 14th, 2019, 7:02 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Casey asked me to post this photo of grape flowers that I labeled to help folks understand what's going on. (I posted it a couple of days ago on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you may have seen it there.) Flowering.JPG Nice, clear diagram. Can't help but wonder -- who are the pollinators of the...
by Stewart Johnson
June 14th, 2019, 7:01 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Can you share a little more information about this? Next year's crop is being formed inside the canes of this year's growth. The spring and early summer weather is important for next year. The amount of sun and warmth on the vines happening now matters to next crop. If I remember correctly, the 201...
by Stewart Johnson
June 14th, 2019, 6:58 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I damn neared rolled into the biggest swarm of bees with the sprayer today that I've ever seen in the vineyard. About 4 foot by 1.5 foot solid mass of parked honeybees with a 15 foot diameter cloud of the airborne contingent. Not the most aggressive types, but I still think it might have pissed them...
by Stewart Johnson
June 11th, 2019, 11:25 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Sierra Foothills Wine Visits, May 2019 – Deaver Vineyards and Sumu Kaw Vineyard: old vines and mystery vines
Replies: 10
Views: 560

Re: Sierra Foothills Wine Visits, May 2019 – Deaver Vineyards and Sumu Kaw Vineyard: old vines and mystery vines

I learn as much about my own neck of the woods from you than I ever did while living there. One tidbit I can add is that the Deaver and Cooper wine families are pretty closely related. I could have this wrong, but I think that Dick Cooper's mom was a Deaver before she married Dick's dad, Henry. Coin...
by Stewart Johnson
June 4th, 2019, 10:14 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I was spraying today and thinking that, despite bloom still ongoing in the pinot and chard, I wasn't smelling much. Then I motored into the viognier and got whalloped by wall of fecund, flowery aromas. Viognier can't help being aromatically forward at every stage of development.
by Stewart Johnson
May 25th, 2019, 9:53 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I got out to spray on Friday, and it looks like the pinot and chard started flowering about Thursday this week. That's a couple days earlier than in 2018. Viognier and syrah are still tight. I hope that means that I've missed the worst of the rain during actual bloom, but, after all this crap weathe...
by Stewart Johnson
May 19th, 2019, 7:35 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Whether you're flowering or not, this weather is probably having an adverse on next year's fruitfulness. Supply could tighten up beyond this year.
by Stewart Johnson
May 18th, 2019, 8:20 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

What the hell happened to my Mediterranean climate? The one upside is that I'm feeling good about having held off on advertising grapes for sale until after set. The market has got to be tightening up as I type.
by Stewart Johnson
April 27th, 2019, 10:47 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

[quote My site is a very, very hot one. The thought is that by keeping the soil free of other growth, the irrigation from the emitters will go to the vines. Another thought passed on to me is that because we are so hot, we disk frequently to keep the top layer of soil soft and able to absorb the hea...
by Stewart Johnson
April 22nd, 2019, 9:50 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I'm kind of dying to disk the odd rows this year, just to smooth out some of the gopher/labrador mounds and holes. It's been a few years of no-till, and spraying has become a pretty violent tractor ride. All this late rain complicates that plan a bit, as I'd like to keep a full cover crop to suck up...
by Stewart Johnson
April 22nd, 2019, 9:32 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Prop 65 Warnings in packages
Replies: 6
Views: 405

Re: Prop 65 Warnings in packages

I thought I had seen that there was some number of employees (9 or 10?) below which the statute was inapplicable. Or was that just wishful thinking?
by Stewart Johnson
April 10th, 2019, 11:12 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

It's still pretty soggy out there. I got overconfident after a few clear days and ventured into no-man's-land with the tractor for some mop-up thistle spraying around the pond and got it stuck. Some bad words were uttered, to no avail.
by Stewart Johnson
February 28th, 2019, 9:29 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Disgorging Keys?
Replies: 2
Views: 254

Re: Disgorging Keys?

Is this what you mean? [/url]https://laffort.com/en/ranges/sparkling/[/url]
by Stewart Johnson
January 9th, 2019, 9:42 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 233
Views: 11372

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 6844

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 2062

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 1519

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 11
Views: 977

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: 19107

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 11
Views: 977

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 606

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: 462

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: 625

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: 625

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: 625

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: 459

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 6820

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: 628
Views: 31604

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: 6820

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: 5
Views: 799

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: 628
Views: 31604

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...

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