Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Harvest of the Reds

On Saturday, Oct. 4th we will begin the harvest of the western bloc of the vineyard, Kati. This bloc has 7 rows of reds, 4 Cab Franc 214 Clone, and 3 Cabernet Sauvignon rows. The Petit Verdot and Mourvedre are not coming in yet. The sugars in the grapes have so slowly climbed this year. It has been a year that started with a delay of flowering by two weeks, a rainy and cool spring, a cool August, and then a hit from the rains that followed the hurricane Gustav.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harvest of Chardonnay 2008

So I am testing the Chardonnay on Saturday before Labor Day. Normally, this Saturday we have a party for friends on the Labor Day Saturday. This year we decided to punt. We are too busy and decided maybe a every other year is best. The test of 100 berries in the middle of the Chardonnay bloc comes out to 21.5 brix. Nice I think! Then as the weekend unfolds, the hurricane Gustav is bearing in on New Orleans. Then the weather people start predicting that moisture from this storm would go North to Arkansas and Missouri. On Sunday, I take a group of folks from Avenues Bistro to see the vineyard. The vineyard is dry and sunny. As the weekend continues to be stormy in the Gulf, I began to compile the data. This storm is going to dump 6 inches of rain on Kansas City area. I have grapes that are very prone to late season rot especially Sour Rot. This rot has no spray to prevent nor to eliminate after infection. The best is the ability to prevent the other rots: bunch rot, bitter rot and berry rot. This I have been doing, but....this late in the season, the skins of the Chardonnay especially are very thin. Sour rot can start in the vineyard and wipe out the vineyard in a week. On Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, I make the decision to pick. On Tuesday nite, the rain begins. On Wednesday morning, I pick up a crew of 3 workers at 6am. We begin to pick the Chardonnay in the rain. We finish the day with 1.5 ton in 5 rows. With 14 rows in this bloc, 3 workers the next day is not going to be sufficient. I double the number to 6 pickers, and on Thursday at 11am the rain finally stops. The productivity of picking sky rockets. We finish with about 4 macro-bins of about 1,000 pounds each at 330pm. We end up with 3.5 tons total of gorgeous fruit.