2019 West Coast Weather Thread

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Roy Piper
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#501 Post by Roy Piper » October 21st, 2019, 2:24 pm

I stepped on a rattler once in a vineyard back in 2010. It was 7am just after dawn, during harvest. I could feel the squishy feel through my tennis shoes and knew it was a snake mid-step. Freaked me out. When I turned back to look at it, it must have been sleeping or something because it slowly uncoiled and gently ratted after the fact. I count myself lucky. Thinking about it freaks me out.
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Kim Z
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#502 Post by Kim Z » October 21st, 2019, 7:05 pm

A bit off topic but we don't kill them here. I capture and safely relocate to a friend who is developing a Pacific Rattlesnake venom vaccine for pets. The snake's venom is milked - they are not harmed. (There is already a vaccine for diamondbacks, but this is not the predominant species here. Casey you may want to look into this up your way for your pooch).

Here he is relaxing in his hotel awaiting his new job!

(I have kept / handled snakes since I was small, and have tongs to safely capture venomous)
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#503 Post by Gary Schulte » October 22nd, 2019, 4:30 pm

Finally, I've come across a thread, and person, where the snake is alive and valued. Can't tell you how many farmers kill anything that slithers along the ground. Cheers to you Kim and your friend. Four legged grape eaters are a different story.

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#504 Post by Gary Schulte » October 22nd, 2019, 4:35 pm

Not sure if I shared this before but my upbringing in California has trained my eyes for reptiles. While doing some vineyard work on my tractor I caught a quick glance of this little guy. Moved him to the safety of a rock wall. Looks newly hatched.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#505 Post by Wes Barton » October 23rd, 2019, 5:06 pm

Cute little guy.

We have rattlesnakes in the hills here. They can be a problem if they're too close to a home or something, where children or pets could get bit. I hear about those being moved or killed. Further out, well, they tend to be tolerated, since they're major predators of gophers. There are also gopher snakes, which are all about love.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#506 Post by timmy roos » October 24th, 2019, 6:08 am

Talked yesterday to the rep from one of the wineries we deal with. They have about 2 more weeks to go. What is left?
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#507 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 28th, 2019, 6:20 am

I can only imagine the power outages are messing with the final steps of harvest. Like many we're on our second day of no power. The fire thread over in wine talk seems to be the place for more news. Stay safe folks.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#508 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 30th, 2019, 5:20 am

Jesus, just checked weather station and NOOA. Philo and Potter Valley both 23 degrees. Not a good morning to be without power.
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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#509 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 31st, 2019, 7:30 am

I do not know who has what still hanging, but it sounds like a helicopter convention at my place. Seems to be coming from up the hill on Pickett (Hundred Acre?) and across The Trail (Diamond Mountain?). I thought every one was in by now.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#510 Post by Merrill Lindquist » November 3rd, 2019, 5:19 am

Every morning since I last posted has had wind machines going. This morning it is one, coming from the direction of Diamond Mountain. Apparently some one has not harvested yet.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#511 Post by Casey Hartlip » November 5th, 2019, 5:39 pm

Rough time of year. I've got folks that need a paycheck and I have to find work to do. Already filled a 40 yard dumpster with junk left lying around our storage areas and junk piles. Another crew has been trimming trees and brush around the vineyard and fence areas. This is something that needs to be done every few years. This is the turning area for the tractors when they are doing all of their jobs (mowing, spraying etc) and clearance is important for our $55k machines.

We added a new dimension this year by building light frames for our early morning picking schedule. We now need 10 feet of clearance due to the new equipment, what worked before is different now.

We will likely start our pruning earlier than normal. Those mid 20 degree temps certainly sent our vines into slumberland.

Damn, sure would like to see some rain.

Oh on the winemaking front my barrel of clone 91 Pinot has completed both primary and malo fermentation. Thanks to one of my customers I got labs done. 14.5 alcohol, which proves my aggressive water adds were warranted. 3.53 pH which I'm very happy with. The wine tastes amazing at such an early stage compared to the '18 which took MONTHS to go through malo and have the acid even out!. The '18 is still in barrel, to be bottled in December, while I see no reason to keep the '19 thru harvest.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#512 Post by Sean Devaney » November 6th, 2019, 6:28 am

Any one still have fruit out there?

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#513 Post by Merrill Lindquist » November 6th, 2019, 7:38 am

Sean Devaney wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 6:28 am
Any one still have fruit out there?
I was on Howell Mountain yesterday and there was fruit loaded on a truck coming down those winding roads. Not sure where it was headed. Still a few trucks with fruit here and there.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#514 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm

Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#515 Post by T Klonoski » November 7th, 2019, 2:40 pm

Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm
Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
Ben, would be interested in any highlights (or lowlights) from your first harvest.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#516 Post by Rboinski » November 7th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm
Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
That is a long harvest considering how early your first pick was!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#517 Post by Paul Gordon » November 7th, 2019, 4:32 pm

With the 2018 crush nearly over (we have 50% of our lots in barrel with the rest to be pressed off in the next 10 days) below are my thoughts on the vintage. I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.

1. Crop for our vineyard was somewhat lower than average. Mainly a result of a very cold May 2018 (when buds for 2019 were being formed).
2. The heavy rain in late May had little effect on crop levels except on Grenache (which always drags out its flowering).
3. The heavy May rain combined with a cool early summer temperatures did raise the mildew pressure.
4. For our vineyard the 2019 summer temps matched 2018 averages. The difference was the warmer temps were in August 2019 vs July 2018. That difference has resulted in moderate malics in 2019 compared to high malic in 2018.
5. Cooler weather hit early in 2019 - our average highs September 15-30th were lower than the average highs for October 1-15th. The early cool did trigger the vines to start their winter shut down a little earlier than normal but due to our lower crop (which ripens earlier) this did not present an issue.
6. Seeds were slow to harden this year - I suspect all that moisture in the ground. The earlier start of vine shut down actually helped here, as it triggered hardening.
7. As others have noted, sugars ran ahead of phenolics (see seed comment above). Alcohols are a little higher than the last couple years.
8. Pick dates were about a week earlier than 2018 except (lower lying) Oppenlander which was two weeks earlier. Altitude seemed to have a greater cooling effect this year.
8. Ferments have been slow to start (we do not inoculated) but once they started they moved fast. I suspect the slow starts are due to cold fruit and a cold winery (due to cold winter/cool summer).
8. First look at the wines shows lots of color, high intensity. I think bigger boned wines more like 2015/16.


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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#518 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » November 8th, 2019, 8:50 pm

T Klonoski wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm
Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
Ben, would be interested in any highlights (or lowlights) from your first harvest.
Overall it was wonderful. I was impressed with how well organized the whole operation was. Jeff somehow manages to always have this serene air of calm and control about him, which really set the tone for the rest of us. Shifts were pretty reasonable - at the peak (September and early October) it was 6 days a week, 11-13 hours a day. Hard work, of course, but manageable. The fruit came in really steadily - again, probably good management on Jeff's part, but having vineyards all over helps, too - our first Pinot came in August 21, last Pinot came in something like 7 weeks later.

A few highlights:
- Being able to spend a lot of time with the fruit from the Coastlands vineyard from crush pad to barrel was a joy. One of my absolute favorite vineyards, it was just a real treat to turn those grapes into wine.
- Sampling vineyards at sunrise.
- Tasting grapes as they came in and following flavor profiles through the winemaking process was really eye-opening.
- Jeff would bring in wines from other producers that work with some of the same vineyards, varietals, or styles as us, so we got to taste a bunch of cool stuff.
- Williams Selyem has amazing catered lunches during harvest - great food and great company. The full-timers and other interns were all a really great group. There wasn't anyone slowing things down or screwing things up.
- Honestly I really love foot-treading grapes and that was probably 20% of my time.
- I didn't realize how delicious Chardonnay grapes are...it was very difficult to leave them in the cold room for crushing...

Lowlights, hmm. Waking up with swollen hands. Barely ever seeing my wife. Not having the same day off as any of my friends. Sulfur. There's also a pretty strong comedown when the pace slows. But all in all, a great experience and a great introduction to a new industry and career.
Rboinski wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 3:42 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm
Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
That is a long harvest considering how early your first pick was!
True, and I'm grateful for it, though it's been about a month since the last Pinot came in so really it's been pretty quiet for a while.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#519 Post by T Klonoski » November 10th, 2019, 2:05 pm

Great to hear that you had a good experience, Ben. Thanks for the interesting notes.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#520 Post by R M Kriete » November 14th, 2019, 7:00 am

Any rain?

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#521 Post by Casey Hartlip » November 14th, 2019, 4:47 pm

R M Kriete wrote:
November 14th, 2019, 7:00 am
Any rain?
Nope! The 10 day really isn't showing much hope.

Back from my hunting trip (see hunting/fishing thread in Asylum). Cleanup and maintenance coming to an end with some great results. Very happy with some of the stuff my crew has done.

Going to start pruning on Monday.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#522 Post by Casey Hartlip » November 17th, 2019, 6:06 am

Really not enjoying the drought. Cover crop is just sitting there wanting a drink. I'm not going to run my frost system sprinklers as the water is too valuable. Really would have given the vines a good drink with the drip system but after getting zapped with 27 degrees I figured why bother. Going to be interesting to see how the vineyard reacts next season. Will there be damage?
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#523 Post by Casey Hartlip » November 18th, 2019, 6:37 pm

Day one of pruning for harvest 2020! Was happy to be out thigh my crew. Couple of new guys being mentored by some of my older guys. The f_cking leaves still not rained off the vines (drought is another topic) or blown off by a good wind. Surely making the job move more slowly. Either way we need to get started on 180 acres of vines to prune.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#524 Post by William Segui » November 19th, 2019, 11:13 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
November 17th, 2019, 6:06 am
after getting zapped with 27 degrees I figured why bother. Going to be interesting to see how the vineyard reacts next season. Will there be damage?
Casey -- Could you expand on this? Why is 27 degrees at this point a concern and how does it potentially impact next year? Thanks!

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