Out in the vineyards ...
The 1st leaf planting is looking good. We planted 20 acres this spring as replacements for some of the acreage that we have lost.
Some of the existing vineyards will produce some, but our yields will be lower than what we would hope for. But the quality looks good. Here are some clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Harvest began for 2021 on Monday of this week with Albariño going to Doug Lewis at Lewis Wines.
I barely made it out there at they were finishing up in the morning.
This is our current harvester. A Gregoire, which we purchased this last year used from our local dealer. Sometime I should do a post with photos of the different harvesters that we have had through the years. Here they are about to unload into the dump cart which will take the grapes back to the winery.
Then the harvester moves on while the dump truck takes a load of grapes back to the winery area.
These dump carts will then dump the grapes into bins which will be weighed and then loaded on a truck to be taken to Doug and the workers at Lewis Wines for pressing. The object here of course is to get the grapes into those white containers rather than between the bins or outside of those bins.
All in a morning’s work. Or usually all in a night’s work, since that is usually when we do harvest.
There will be six or more weeks of harvest to come. But if this heat keeps up the vast majority in the next three weeks.
This time of year is fun because we get visits from our winery friends that we sell grapes to such as Dave Reilly, winemaker at Duchman Family Winery. Great guy and great winemaker. He does a wonderful job with the white grapes and the Dolcetto that we send to them. The added bonus was that he brought his lovely wife, Linda.
Another wonderful aspect of these visits is that these wineries often bring us some fruit of their labors (made with the fruit of our labor). Dave brought us bottles of 2019 Duchman Family Winery Viognier that we shared with the crew here.
Working Together to Create Great Wine
When the Becker crew came by for a visit they brought a bottle of a very small lot production wine. They usually use our Semillon grapes for blending with other wines, but this varietal wine was aged for over 40 months in oak. Jon Leahy, their winemaker, is a hoot, but more importantly he makes great wines. This Semillon wine was complex and delightful.
But the main purpose for the wineries coming to visit is to get a look at the vineyards to inspect the crop of grapes that are coming their way. And yes, all seem to be looking forward to this year’s harvest which may start this week for us.
Red Wine Grapes that are Close, But Not Ready for Harvest
The question is, “When is the optimal time to harvest a particular grape in a particular block?” The white grapes are usually ready first. But this year the red grapes are coming along. As you can see they are not ready yet, but we are testing their juice for brix and pH as well as tasting them. Tasting them and looking at their seeds is important as well.
Soon, I’ll be showing you photos of ripe red wine grapes.
A Blast from the Past – 2012
I was just about to post this when Facebook showed me a photo from 2012 that Dave Reilly took at Duchman Family Winery back in 2012. Yes, we have been friends for a long time. He put the comment with it of, “20 tons of Bingham Family Vineyard Dolcetto hit the loading dock today. We are crushing away… Dave Reilly, Duchman Family Winery.”
Lovely having friends in the business.
We have been testing grapes at Bingham Family Vineyards for three weeks now. Yesterday every block of grapes was tested. A few were tested today, and tomorrow, they will all be tested again. Usually the testing is spread out a little more, but there is a forecast for rain this weekend. There may be a few grapes that we need to get in before the rain such as the Gewürztraminer.
We just have one acre of those grapes, but everyone seems to like the semi-sweet wine that we make with those. We have been sold out for several months of our 2019. There will not be any 2020, so we are looking forward to the 2021 vintage this year. We have kept back a few bottles for our fall Traditional Club shipments.
After testing it looks like the Gewürztraminer grapes need a little more time for quality wine, but the Albariño might be ready for one of our winery friends before the weekend, so harvest may start very soon.
Yesterday, and normally, we use the big Home Depot buckets to crush the fruit to obtain the juice for testing. Testing for brix (or the amount of sugar in the grapes) and pH (which you want not too high and not too low). The timing of the harvest of grapes is important for the quality of the wine.
Today the girl’s used the old cone strainer and pestle to remove the juice from the skins before testing the juice.
Now on the work at the winery. Let’s take a look. Lights are going into the new grape press room which is huge.
Everything is still a little messy at the winery as we are finishing up the room for the presses and the big stainless steel storage tanks. Lights have gone up and now for the big white glycol coolant tubes to be put into place.
Well, the glycol tubes are brown at the moment, but they will be cleaned up and white again before they get put in. And all the mechanics of the presses checked out and in order.
Harvest is upon us, so this work will be finished up soon. Can’t wait to show you the photos then.
Vineyards update for the week, but the photos are from the 4th. The crop continues to progress. The tonnage will be less than we hoped for, but the quality is there.
The plants in the tubes are young plants that will not produce fruit this year. The large cluster in the Dirt Farmer’s hand is Trebbiano. This was Cliff’s favorite grape to grow on the High Plains. It has been the primary grape in our Cloudburst dry white wine blend. We also have a varietal wine which is made from the Trebbiano grape. You might want to try both as you explore 100% Texas grown Trebbiano.