Page Archive for August, 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

With harvest approaching quicker than I’d like, the pressure is on to clear the tanks and make room for the 2009’s.  I can now report that our 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris will be bottled on September 14th, making the tentative release date around September 28th. Generally, I like to let the wines adjust to life in bottle for a couple of weeks prior to release, just to make sure they get all their kicking and screaming out.

In related news, we’re down to the last few cases of 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, so the timing of this release should work out just about right.  After 18 long months spent maturing in bottle, our 2005 Cab Sauv is drinking well and ready to debut alongside the 2008 whites.

It occurs to me that we’ve never really had a “Grand Opening” for our winery, and I guess that’s just not our style.  Instead, we’ve decided to celebrate our new release with all the people who have generously supported us since our inception.  We’ll be emailing the details of this intimate event to those on our mailing list in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox!

Lucy patiently awaits the New Release…

Lucy

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Anyone who has been traumatized by the Hitchcock classic “The Birds” would understand the chills that are currently inhabiting my spine.  As our first Pinot berries start to turn colour, so return the first starlings to terrorize my parents and I for the next three months.

Like the movie, our bird conundrum always starts with a few nosy stragglers and quickly advances to throngs of grape-thirsty beasts, hell-bent on vineyard devastation.  On the front lines, my dad is our General Patton, always devising new schemes to divert the feathered assassins from their target.   My mom is his trusty foot soldier, known to employ old fashioned yelling, clapping and even the banging of pots and pans in weaker moments.

I’m the net man.  Through the years we’ve experimented with about every bird control technique ever invented, only to realize that the physical netting of the grapes is the only answer.  It’s labour intensive, expensive and it works, plain and simple.

The problem with bird pecks is that it only takes one to spoil an entire bunch of grapes.  So preventing these pecks and the subsequent rot is paramount to the success of tight-cluster varieties like Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.  In our Pinot Noir we use a permanent netting system that is unfurled shortly after veraison and then gets rolled back up and stays in the vineyard after harvest in the fall.  In the Pinot Gris we’ve opted for temporary netting that must be put up and taken down every year.  It’s a little more work, but it should give us a more mileage out of the nets.

The bird pressure usually dies down once the early varieties are picked, but our guard is always up.  Left unattended, we could potentially lose a significant portion of our crop.  Yet another one of the pitfalls of growing grapes in Niagara!