Search found 763 matches

by Stewart Johnson
October 11th, 2019, 10:26 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Great Article on Darrell Corti - Corti Brothers in Sacramento
Replies: 18
Views: 698

Re: ButButBut..

blahblah The man has pretty tough standards. I followed up on a sample bottle of viognier that I'd left for him to try, and he told me, by way of rejection, that the only varietally correct viognier he'd ever had was a 1963 Ch. Grillet. He's someone whose opinion I take seriously, and placing somet...
by Stewart Johnson
October 11th, 2019, 9:43 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I delivered some viognier grapes to a winery in Santa Rosa last night. Drove the load up after a night pick with the intention of just sleeping in the truck until someone showed up to off-load. Was not prepared for temps in the 30s. It was a 3 dog night, and I only brought 2 with me. It was a huge b...
by Stewart Johnson
October 9th, 2019, 10:43 pm
Forum: Wine Talk
Topic: Great Article on Darrell Corti - Corti Brothers in Sacramento
Replies: 18
Views: 698

Re: Great Article on Darrell Corti - Corti Brothers in Sacramento

The man has pretty tough standards. I followed up on a sample bottle of viognier that I'd left for him to try, and he told me, by way of rejection, that the only varietally correct viognier he'd ever had was a 1963 Ch. Grillet. He's someone whose opinion I take seriously, and placing something in hi...
by Stewart Johnson
September 22nd, 2019, 10:16 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Here's a nice thing about this year. No yellowjackets. Zero. Even on unfermented stems and skins dumped in the vineyard that would usually be swarming. Last year we picked syrah at night that was full of yellowjackets bedded down in the clusters. The pickers didn't get stung because the yellowjacket...
by Stewart Johnson
September 14th, 2019, 9:56 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: T-bin capacity?
Replies: 3
Views: 442

Re: T-bin capacity?

A TBin has 1.36 times the capacity of a half ton macro bin. A TBin has 32.2 cubic feet capacity. A half ton macro has 23.6 cubic feet capacity. Thanks. That matches pretty closely with what I heard from another guy who picked two full T-bins and weighed out at 2675 lbs. I might have expected it to ...
by Stewart Johnson
September 14th, 2019, 1:55 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: T-bin capacity?
Replies: 3
Views: 442

T-bin capacity?

Does anyone pick into T-bins on a regular basis and have an idea of the standard tonnage they hold when full? I mean just-picked, not crushed fruit. I get that the "T" stands for "ton," but they don't seem to actually hold that much.
by Stewart Johnson
September 13th, 2019, 1:46 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I was trying to get some water on the top of my vineyard ahead of the heat, and my irrigation pump was having a hard time getting the water all the way to the top. That usually means pond weeds are clogging the screen of my pump inlet pipe. That, in turn, means swimming or wading out into that soupy...
by Stewart Johnson
September 12th, 2019, 9:58 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I've wrapped up the early pinot picks for sparkling, rose and the "red fraction" of the still wine. A little pause here before moving on to chardonnay and the main body of the still pinot. Viognier and syrah are still a long way off. There's a chance of rain coming Monday, and that may lead me to pu...
by Stewart Johnson
September 12th, 2019, 9:49 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Need Help - Small Vineyard Pick
Replies: 4
Views: 575

Re: Need Help - Small Vineyard Pick

I think that sounds like overkill on the crew. 1 real picker or 2 amateurs could knock that out in 3 hours.
by Stewart Johnson
September 12th, 2019, 9:42 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Chilling Wine Post Ferment
Replies: 9
Views: 728

Re: Chilling Wine Post Ferment

I've got a snake helping chill a VC tank right now. I think it's the longest one they make. It's handy to throw at a tank to speed chilling when a plate isn't getting it done fast enough, but I'd forgotten what a drag they are to wrassle and clean. I'm not sure why they are so particularly aggravati...
by Stewart Johnson
September 5th, 2019, 12:16 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Every harvest, for the past several, I've had my fingers crossed that my truck will make it through "just one more." It's 20 years old with a quarter mil+ miles. It used to handle 6 tons on the trailer without breaking a sweat, but the old gray mare ain't what she used to be. Last year, with a heavy...
by Stewart Johnson
August 31st, 2019, 11:20 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I heard from my Mom today that her sangiovese vineyard in Amador County is a total write-off this year due to mildew. She dropped a bunch of fruit where they could see mildew on the outside of the clusters, but the winery that buys most of her fruit came out and cracked open a lot of clusters and f...
by Stewart Johnson
August 30th, 2019, 8:49 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I heard from my Mom today that her sangiovese vineyard in Amador County is a total write-off this year due to mildew. She dropped a bunch of fruit where they could see mildew on the outside of the clusters, but the winery that buys most of her fruit came out and cracked open a lot of clusters and fo...
by Stewart Johnson
August 30th, 2019, 8:38 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Chilling Wine Post Ferment
Replies: 9
Views: 728

Re: Chilling Wine Post Ferment

There is a bung attachment that slides over the snake for insertion into a barrel, and I think it should fill out a 2" TC. If not, it's easy enough to attach a 1.5" reducer. Check MoreWine in Concord.
by Stewart Johnson
July 7th, 2019, 10:30 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

For the curious: the last spray consisted of Prolivo, a newish protectant of powdery mildew. Apparently knocks back any existing mildew on contact and protects going forward. Also used Sylcoat, which is some kind of organic pesticide used on fruits (grapes). Clark Vineyard Management does a great j...
by Stewart Johnson
July 5th, 2019, 10:35 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Help with home vineyard issues
Replies: 8
Views: 1370

Re: Help with home vineyard issues

The kill-two-birds-with-one-stone solution for both the mildew and the mites could be mineral oil. I'm a big fan of Omni Supreme Spray for both mildew and botrytis, but it's actually registered as a miticide. Stylet Oil is the same thing but more expensive.
by Stewart Johnson
July 1st, 2019, 10:25 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Replants
Replies: 19
Views: 1731

Re: Replants

We plant new fields diligently for the first 3 years and don't bother after that. The irrigation intervals don't really match up after that. Once the field is up and going we're not watering often enough for young plants. Hand watering is about the only other option. That's why I think that replant...
by Stewart Johnson
June 29th, 2019, 6:26 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

I'd say my set was pretty crappy, and the crop is going to be lighter than average.
On the other hand, I have a real bumper crop of Morning Glory. That stuff really seemed to enjoy the Spring rains.
by Stewart Johnson
June 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Replants
Replies: 19
Views: 1731

Re: Replants

I was grafting over some vines that went in as replants in 2016 today and remembered this thread. I tried the Duarte Uber vines in this instance, and the results were much better than any other replant MO that I've tried. These vines were fully ready to be productive this year, whereas other replant...
by Stewart Johnson
June 14th, 2019, 7:12 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread
Replies: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 13
Views: 1025

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 565

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 366

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: 487
Views: 25852

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 7348

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 35786

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: 2199

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: 35786

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: 35786

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...

Go to advanced search