Search found 839 matches

by Stewart Johnson
April 15th, 2021, 4:03 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

My pond is about 3" up from it's completely empty level. I called the North Marin Water District to see if I could buy water and haul it from a hydrant 3-4 miles away and was told they are shutting down access to hydrants due to shortage. Grim.
by Stewart Johnson
April 6th, 2021, 7:53 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

First disc pass done today. First fungicide spray (mineral oil) tomorrow. There's not a whole lot of green to aim at, but I'll just go down every other row and count on overspray covering the adjacent rows. I feel like cultivating is the most therapeutic thing in farming. I'd really rather avoid it,...
by Stewart Johnson
April 6th, 2021, 7:31 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Replants Made Easy
Replies: 1
Views: 390

Re: Replants Made Easy

That's tremendous.
by Stewart Johnson
March 18th, 2021, 1:48 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Green harvest - and the bizarre world of dropping fruit.
Replies: 19
Views: 1084

Re: Green harvest - and the bizarre world of dropping fruit.

The only fruit I drop is fruit that is still pink and green when most other clusters have finished veraison. My aim is, I assume like everyone else's, to bring all fruit to the same degree of "ripeness" at the same time. I think the concern with uniform ripening is more pronounced for cab...
by Stewart Johnson
March 14th, 2021, 5:54 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Green harvest - and the bizarre world of dropping fruit.
Replies: 19
Views: 1084

Re: Green harvest - and the bizarre world of dropping fruit.

I'm generally in agreement. The bigger yield years have been the best quality years for me. I'll take the hang-time and steadier ripening over any concentration I might gain from a light crop that has to come off in the first week of September. The exception is where the bunches start to crowd each ...
by Stewart Johnson
March 9th, 2021, 7:41 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

Took my gooseneck to Windsor today and drove through some serious showers. I'm talking the type you have to slow down even with wipers on high. The folks in Philo got very little during the same time frame, but I'm happy to report some decent showers here now. Trellis supplies are scarce. Usually t...
by Stewart Johnson
February 22nd, 2021, 1:55 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Remedies for Smoke Taint?
Replies: 45
Views: 4500

Re: Remedies for Smoke Taint?

Per ETS, 4-methylguaiacol above 2ug/L indicates smoke taint only in unoaked wines. I got 4.4ug/L 4-MG on the blend of prior vintages which they say is pretty standard for a 25% new oak wine. My 2020 PN was 2.4ug/L 4-MG, so I'm fairly comfortable there. The ETS smoke expert says you can go much highe...
by Stewart Johnson
February 19th, 2021, 8:34 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Remedies for Smoke Taint?
Replies: 45
Views: 4500

Re: Remedies for Smoke Taint?

I've got one strong recommendation and one more tentative one. The strong one is to establish your own baseline numbers from non-smoke years by putting together a composite of several vintages representing your vineyard, your barrel program, fermentation regimen, etc. and sending it to ETS. That's a...
by Stewart Johnson
February 3rd, 2021, 10:34 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

My "neighborhood" certainly bucks the trend. Driving down my street yesterday I saw plenty of standing water in vineyards down near Constellation's 14 acres and Kenefick and Frediani. Some also along Tubbs Lane. Microclimates are a strange thing. I was up that way today, and that seemed t...
by Stewart Johnson
February 3rd, 2021, 11:03 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I pushed off a grafting project because the grafted vines take a lot of irrigation. I already pulled the 100% cultivation tool out of the bag last year and really wouldn't want to do that two years in a row. It's true that "If you ain't fretting, you ain't farming," but ... hell.
by Stewart Johnson
February 3rd, 2021, 10:50 am
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: Weed Slayer
Replies: 4
Views: 845

Weed Slayer

I tried this last year and found it marginally effective -- better than other organic herbicides but not at effective as Roundup and way more expensive. I was on the fence about using it again this year but found it suddenly unavailable when I went to price it. Now I know why. There's a class action...
by Stewart Johnson
January 28th, 2021, 4:56 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

I went out to the vineyard yesterday morning hoping to find some water at the surface that I could feed into drains that fill my irrigation pond, but it still seems like that's a way off. Everything is still soaking in.
by Stewart Johnson
January 12th, 2021, 6:29 pm
Forum: Cellar Rats (ITB)
Topic: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread
Replies: 160
Views: 10150

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: 1666

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: 43543

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: 1927

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: 1927

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: 1927

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 615

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 3003

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: 43543

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: 3003

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 2351

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 2351

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 2597

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: 43543

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: 43543

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: 39
Views: 6043

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: 39
Views: 6043

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: 39
Views: 6043

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?

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