2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#451 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 24th, 2018, 5:28 pm

26 brix and 4 acid, don't you think it would have been better 4-5 days earlier?
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#452 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 24th, 2018, 5:45 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:28 pm
26 brix and 4 acid, don't you think it would have been better 4-5 days earlier?
4 days earlier, 4 days later. I think this vineyard of mine is very forgiving. It knows its job. And its keeper knows her job.

Beautiful yield, incredible flavor, nice numbers. A clean pick that will, of course, produce a wine that has a naturally beautiful color, and a characteristic bouquet.

Very, very satisfied here.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#453 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 24th, 2018, 7:13 pm

Lots of activity in the neighborhood today. I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by bright lights coming in around the edges of the bedroom shades. 1/2 mile away, Kenefick was picking.

I saw Relic bins being trucked up Pickett Road - presumably to Al Frediani's vineyard up top of Pickett Road. Lots of activity around Eisele Vineyard early today, as well. I did not go out to look, but the sound came from that direction. The pick is on, with a big hustle going on. Tank space and picking crews will face challenges, as most everyone is reporting larger than "average" yields.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#454 Post by Andrew Demaree » September 24th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Congrats, Merrill. And happy 19th harvest.

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#455 Post by Karen Troisi » September 25th, 2018, 4:43 am

Our winemaker made the call last night - we are bringing in our Melrose malbec from Rutherford on Friday.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#456 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 25th, 2018, 7:47 am

It's a chilly 45 degrees here in Calistoga at 7:00 a.m. I hear bins being dropped and moved around. I went to St. Helena yesterday (15 minute drive) and it was a slow drive. Between trucks loaded with harvest goods, and the increase in the number of tourists who want to be here at harvest time, the roads are slow. Silverado Trail can be tricky for a driver the first few times around, and no trucker wants to dump a load of grapes by taking the turns too quickly.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#457 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 25th, 2018, 3:32 pm

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 more tons picked on the front end of the day.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#458 Post by Sean Devaney » September 25th, 2018, 3:37 pm

My favorite time of the year for this thread. Sounds like this is shaping up to be a great vintage. Are you growers facing any picker shortages this year?

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#459 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 25th, 2018, 3:47 pm

Casey - just a heads-up - the first 2 rows that were picked by my crew at 6:30, with their "headlights on" did not serve very well. They missed half the clusters (from my prize St. George block), and I had to send them back after they declared themselves finished. In fact, I walked the entire vineyard with them, pointing out missed clusters.


Sean - I think there are number of inexperienced pickers out there this year. Vineyard owners or managers need to do what I found out as a manager in a number of industries - MBWA. Managing by walking around. There is no substitute.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#460 Post by Stewart Johnson » September 26th, 2018, 12:37 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 3:32 pm
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 more tons picked on the front end of the day.
I've picked at night with headlamps for the last 8 vintages, and I've come to really like it. It removes a lot of the stress that comes with building heat on fruit and crew during morning picks. It also means I can load up and deliver fruit when the roads are empty -- a big plus when I'm taking my own fruit to Treasure Island. It can also mean that you get a fresher crew. They'll sometimes race off from a night pick to go do a morning pick, which is pretty tough. The accommodation I make for the sake of visibility is to pull leaves from the fruit zone on one side of the vine on the evening of the pick, right after moving the netting. For a VSP, that is sufficient, but I can see how it might be more difficult to see all the fruit on a different trellis. I used to buy the Energizer headlamps that they sell cheap at Central Valley Builders, but I've come to prefer the Coast headlamps that Costco often carries -- more lumens and more durable.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#461 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 26th, 2018, 9:32 am

IMG_20180926_075058091_HDR.jpg
42 degree Gewurtz.


I kind of feel we've joined the modern era today. Just having the folks in the field 45 minutes earlier made a huge difference. Tomorrow we're probably going to start at 5:30. No no we're not going to be out there with light towers humming away at 2:00 am, but I do see this as getting more productive time from the crew before it gets hot around noon.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#462 Post by Roy Piper » September 26th, 2018, 12:19 pm

I am coming off Moulds Friday. I must say it feels very weird for me to be coming off before other winemakers have picked in Calistoga or St Helena. But the grapes feel ready to me and I like where they are and I have to go with my gut. Guessing in the 25.2-25.9 range, which would be my lowest brix at pick for Moulds since 2011. pH might be only 3.50. But to me they taste higher than the numbers seem to indicate. Guess we will see!

Houyi is not even remotely close to ready. 3 weeks, most likely.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#463 Post by Bdklein » September 27th, 2018, 4:26 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:28 pm
26 brix and 4 acid, don't you think it would have been better 4-5 days earlier?
What's your reasoning? I'm not ITB and know very litttle, but just curious . That brix level a bit high??
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#464 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 27th, 2018, 7:39 am

It'll be fine. Water it back to 24 or so and add some acid. Everybody does it. If you don't water back the alcohol could get over 15?
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#465 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 27th, 2018, 7:29 pm

Broke down tractor this morning led to choas at 5:30 this morning. Just when we thought we were on a new era, reality showed it's ugly head. One of my $50k fancy can tractors has an electrical issue. In the mean time I have 18 eager folks trying to fill buckets as fast as possible. Long story short, we had a backup with lights and were able to continue. Now rain is predicted for Monday night, so we try to get as much in as possible.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#466 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 28th, 2018, 9:36 am

IMG_20180928_092012656.jpg
Clone 548 Chardonnay for 4 clients today. Starting at 5:30 am has been a godsend. Not everyone shows on time but we are getting a jump on the day. Also, once the sun comes up the crew are already going at top speed.
It's going to rain Monday and that will change the rest of the season. I'm not saying quality will suffer, just saying it's going to change the attitude of my clients. If it's just a quarter inch and dries out afterwards it may not be much. We'll see.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#467 Post by R M Kriete » September 28th, 2018, 10:51 am

"If it's just a quarter inch and dries out afterwards it may not be much. We'll see."

What's the forecasted amount?

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#468 Post by Karen Troisi » September 28th, 2018, 6:50 pm

R M Kriete wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 10:51 am
"If it's just a quarter inch and dries out afterwards it may not be much. We'll see."

What's the forecasted amount?
Wunderground showing we’ll get just enough to wash the dust off. Hope this forecast holds.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#469 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 28th, 2018, 7:07 pm

A dust settler and a day off! I'm down with that.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#470 Post by Roy Piper » September 28th, 2018, 7:31 pm

Arrived at Moulds at 7am.
Came off at 10am.
At the winery at 1pm.
In tank by 3pm.
10% saignee done by 4pm.
Guessing 25.8 brix.

One vineyard down, one more to go. But I might be in barrel before I pick it.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#471 Post by M. Taylor » September 29th, 2018, 6:34 am

Roy Piper wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 7:31 pm
Arrived at Moulds at 7am.
Came off at 10am.
At the winery at 1pm.
In tank by 3pm.
10% saignee done by 4pm.
Guessing 25.8 brix.

One vineyard down, one more to go. But I might be in barrel before I pick it.
Roy —

Not ITB, so pardon my dumb question: what do you do/how do you handle it in that situation?

Looking forward to getting your shipment in November!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#472 Post by Casey Hartlip » September 29th, 2018, 12:04 pm

Picking another 45 mins in a wind blown drizzle. My poor folks are so dedicated. I'm so lucky. Will have to get home to total up but I'm guessing about 380 tons are in. Every load we've picked up until now has been pretty darn epic. Maybe the perfect year for Anderson Valley. Great flavors with solid acids.

From here it will be interesting to see how it goes. A couple of days off won't bother me. With our new 'early pick' I've got to get out of bed at 3:50 am to get here to lead the troops.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#473 Post by Karen Troisi » September 30th, 2018, 3:57 pm

The forecast is now calling for more rain than it did a few days ago but still only .3 in Napa. Hope this doesn’t change again. Looks like the heavier rainfall may be going south with Santa Barbara getting over an inch tuesday into wednesday.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#474 Post by Evan Pontoriero » September 30th, 2018, 9:56 pm

No nails left to bite in the PGap.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#475 Post by Paul Gordon » October 1st, 2018, 8:25 am

Our September temps were just about average at Halcon - 74F on the hi temps and 53F on the low. The first and last weeks were in the upper 80s and the middle two weeks peaking in the 60s.
Our Syrah is sitting at 21-23b. The next three days are cool and rainy. We need another week to get full maturity, so likely start picking around the 12th.
Did a second round of fruit drop on our Grenache yesterday. It will be the very end of October before that comes in.
We will likely pick our first fruit this coming Saturday - Oppenlander PN sitting at 21.5b right now.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#476 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 1st, 2018, 4:50 pm

Took Sunday off. Today we had a great day. 400 tons crossed today. Picked Martini Pinot for my barrel of wine this year. Numbers after cold soak.
A quarter to half an inch predicted over the next 48 hours. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. 70 tons of Chardonnay could be effected by this.
To celebrate the first weather change, there's a chunk of elk hind quarter thawing out for the first rainy-day stew project starting tomorrow. I'm sure ill sleep in until at least 5:30 tomorrow morning, then let's get the house smelling like fall!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#477 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 2nd, 2018, 10:43 am

A touch over an inch overnight, and I don't think we're done yet.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#478 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 2nd, 2018, 2:39 pm

Yesterdays Pinot numbers:. 24.6/.69/3.45. Just wow. Now we'll see if the wine is any good!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#479 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 3rd, 2018, 6:00 pm

I guess ill keep going as Merrill is in self imposed radio silence. After a brief respite, it's gonna get intense again. Lots of wineries are pretty full now so scheduling is getting harder. Today with a small crew we were able to pick 10 beautiful tons of clone 548 Chard. Then the showers started. Spent the next 3 hours lobbying my customers to step up and take fruit. The mold is going to start now. It's been wet and very warm and humid. 430 tons in.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#480 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 3rd, 2018, 6:25 pm

Ugh. Sorry about the warm temps. That sucks.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#481 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 4th, 2018, 7:11 am

Arrived at work this morning to a warm steady rain. Not good at all. Chardonnay going to start to mold. Had to cancel today's pick, and the next 3 days all have to be shifted. It's going to get much harder from here on.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#482 Post by Stewart Johnson » October 4th, 2018, 10:11 am

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 ever going to rot, this is the time. I'm too buried in the winery to even get out to look at the vineyard ahead of time. It's just grab-it-when-you-can mode now. To my surprised relief, there was zero mold. I was glad I decided to pull the chardonnay right ahead of the rain, and I don't think my site faces the same disease pressure as lots of others, but I mostly chalk my good fortune up to Omni Supreme Spray. It's essentially Stylet Oil at a fraction of the price, and its diligent application up thru set seems to knock inoculum levels back to near zero. If it was out there, it would have bloomed yesterday. I still have a little (loose clustered) syrah hanging, and I may end up regretting my smugness there, but, right now, I feel like I dodged a bullet.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#483 Post by N Weis » October 4th, 2018, 3:35 pm

Not enough rain to cause major problems (yet).

Just enough to be annoying and keep us out.

Rain, warm, rain, warm is a perfect recipe for botrytis.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#484 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 4th, 2018, 5:00 pm

N Weis wrote:
October 4th, 2018, 3:35 pm
Not enough rain to cause major problems (yet).

Just enough to be annoying and keep us out.

Rain, warm, rain, warm is a perfect recipe for botrytis.
Yeah well we HAVE had enough rain to cause major problems. Almost 2 inches over the last few days. Also this Pinot and Chard aren't quite like all that Cab you've got. My bright spot is we're over 65% done, but this next 10 days will be lots of sorting out rot.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#485 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 4th, 2018, 5:32 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 7:39 am
It'll be fine. Water it back to 24 or so and add some acid. Everybody does it. If you don't water back the alcohol could get over 15?
No water, no acid added. Down to -.5B. What a lovely thing.

My 2017 is at 15.1% ABV. It does not show that alcohol level. It is gorgeous. It's still EMH Black Cat. Picked by gut.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#486 Post by Stewart Johnson » October 5th, 2018, 2:20 pm

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 Care Package I ever received. The guy had also brought barrel sample wines out to the vineyard for me to taste and delivered my barrels himself to the winery. Pretty amazing customer service for a very small order.
I haven't used the barrels yet, so I can't report on that. I'm trying TB because they carry both Jupilles forest (which I like and don't often find in burg bbls) and Russian oak, which I've been wanting to try. We'll see.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#487 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 5th, 2018, 3:19 pm

Stewart Johnson wrote:
October 5th, 2018, 2:20 pm
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 Care Package I ever received. The guy had also brought barrel sample wines out to the vineyard for me to taste and delivered my barrels himself to the winery. Pretty amazing customer service for a very small order.
I haven't used the barrels yet, so I can't report on that. I'm trying TB because they carry both Jupilles forest (which I like and don't often find in burg bbls) and Russian oak, which I've been wanting to try. We'll see.
That is a great story...some people just show they care at just the right time.

I have been up and down the Valley following a short trip to Boston. Lots and lots of fruit still hanging. I was amazed at how much was hanging at Larkmead and Fisher - they are fairly close by. But each vineyard is different: soil, root-stock, clone, farming methods, micro-climate, style of wine desired.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#488 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 5th, 2018, 5:05 pm

We regrouped today. Needed to let things dry out: loading area, vineyard rows and most importantly the fruit. Personally I slept in till 5:00 am, got myself a haircut, changed the oil in my car and so on.

Reconnected with existing customers and trying to plan the next week or so. I walked a few rows of many blocks. I gotta say I was shocked at how little botrytis I found out there.
IMG_20181005_112043936_HDR.jpg
This is the Pinot block I was most worried about. Yes this looks bad but it took me 10 minutes to find it. I'd say 2% infection at this point.
IMG_20181005_112428996_HDR.jpg
Here's some Chard that in 2011 we lost 70% at the moment it's 5% at most. We'll see how it is on Tuesday (first day the customer can take it) .
I should be freaking out but I can see the end in the distance.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#489 Post by N Weis » October 5th, 2018, 10:07 pm

Walked a lot today and Cab still holding strong. As the old rule goes, in a biggish vintage, it gets bigger the later you go. Yields have been pretty strong thus far.

A lot has made progress even with the weather. No visual signs but could smell some rot in places.

I figure we’ll be bringing most all that’s left (+/- 30%) in within the next 10 days. Will be a few stragglers left after that, but not a whole lot.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#490 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 6th, 2018, 7:42 am

IMG_20181006_074054440_HDR.jpg
I bit nicer pic than those fuzzy grapes from yesterday. Gewurtz undaunted by the recent weather.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#491 Post by Karen Troisi » October 7th, 2018, 4:39 am

We brought in syrah from Atlas Peak and merlot from Oak Knoll yesterday. Fruit was beautiful and absolutely no issues with either. We are waiting on our mountain cabs - Yates (Mt. Veeder) will come in on wednesday and Stagecoach a few days later. Took a ride down the trail and was surprised how much valley floor fruit was still out there.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#492 Post by Paul Gordon » October 7th, 2018, 12:02 pm

After 1.5 in of rain and an average high of 59F the last 7 days, our Syrah brix dropped a little into a narrow range of 20.5-22b. The forecast is for highs around 70F the next 2 weeks. We target 23b, so will likely pick around the 20th.
If we get some late October heat we will be picking our estate Grenache and Mourvedre in early November. Otherwise I see some Rose in our future.
We also sampled our Oppenlander PN Friday and that dropped to 20b. So set a pick target of 10/17.
One late year here in Mendo!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#493 Post by Stewart Johnson » October 7th, 2018, 5:19 pm

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 skins to save for whenever the syrah is ready. I spent an hour trying to cram it all into an side-by-side upright freezer with the bags insistent on slithering out. If this goes well with the syrah, it will have to be a chest freezer next year.
The viognier pressed terribly this year. Super reluctant to yield juice, and there was a lot left in the pomace. I might have waited for the pulp to get a little less slimy in another year, but I didn't have the nerve to let it hang much longer after the rain for fear of rot. I might have to investigate the world of macerating enzymes with the viognier next year.
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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#494 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 8th, 2018, 7:58 am

Best of luck with that Syrah, Stewart.

I see they are picking every night down the street (Kenefick) but the neighborhood still has lots of Cabernet hanging. The few berries I sampled did not display a "Cabernet" flavor...just fruit and sugar.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#495 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 8th, 2018, 9:28 am

IMG_20181008_092617753_HDR.jpg
Chardonnay today. 23 tons, before 10:00 am. Very little sorting needed. Tastes like grapes and sugar.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#496 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 9th, 2018, 6:40 pm

No pics today. Starting to feel a bit burned out. Sleeping pattren is messed up. I think I've passed the 500 ton mark. Picked my Chard today that wouldn't have survived another week. Only had to sort 3-5%. Some of my customers now are short on space. Losing patience on just about everything. Refusing to talk to any existing customers. Text only.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#497 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 10th, 2018, 7:41 pm

Over my bitterness from yesterday. Had a silly 4 tons pinot pick with a small crew. Set up picks for tomorrow and Friday and retrieved stranded bins.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#498 Post by Ken Zinns » October 10th, 2018, 7:45 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 7:41 pm
Over my bitterness from yesterday. Had a silly 4 tons pinot pick with a small crew. Set up picks for tomorrow and Friday and retrieved stranded bins.
Everyone is stressed out this time of year, no surprise that you are too. 4 tons would be a big pick for us!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#499 Post by Karen Troisi » October 11th, 2018, 6:37 am

We are in the home stretch - down to three remaining vineyards. Our Sonoma Coast chardonnay will come in on sunday followed next week by our cabernets from Yates (Mt. Veeder) and Stagecoach (Pritchard Hill). Fruit looks and tastes amazing - way too early but it could be another 2016.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#500 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 11th, 2018, 7:49 pm

75 tons left but every ton matters to my customers. Could we possibly pick every lot and make everyone happy?
I had to play winemaker poker this afternoon. These folks are in the same game as me. Trying to make it all work. It's important to respect your customer and the issues they have. I've been at this long enough to know it's a long game. I had to horse trade/play chicken with a winemaker to get the day I NEEDED to make my next few days work. These are the subtle aspects that make relationships work. I spent an hour texting and horse trading with numerous clients to make my next 4 days work. At times it's exhausting and frustrating, but it's all part of the dance. You have to know when to beg, and when to pressure. I hate this........and live for it.
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