Monday, October 02, 2006


Friday I picked up a U-Haul trailer to take cases of wine to Leesburg for the wine festival we were participating in. U-Haul locations used to be everywhere, but no more. The nearby garage stopped offering them a year ago. Though there are two listed U-Haul outlets in Crozet, neither are functioning. In Waynesboro there is a still a u-haul place, but they didn't have the trailer I needed, of course. So, I picked up a trailer in Charlottesville. Tip: Spend the extra $5/day and get the double axle trailer rather than the smaller single axle trailers. It handles more weight and is far more stable on the road. After driving back and picking up 65 cases, I headed up to Leesburg. The festival grounds were a bit damp and my four wheel drive is out on the F250 (Wasn't I raving about it last week?). Plus the tents were tightly spaced. All this lead to me having to schlep all the cases, four at a time, about 40 yards to our space. No one thinks of this when they are dreaming of opening a winery. After getting things squared away, I hit the road for home. This was about 3:45pm in Northern Virginia on a Friday! Dumb plan. Traffic was no problem, at least to my fellow motorists at least. They all look docile and content. To me it was intolerable. It took one and a half hours to go thirty miles. Well, I didn't press any fruit when I came home though I did busy myself with wine.

Actually, that night, my wife Susan hosted a cast party for the play in which she and my son Sam just starred. "Two tales from the Twilight Zone" by Earl Hamner of Walton's fame. Well, they were stars in my opinion. It was a good party. Not the first cast party I have crashed, though.

Saturday I finished pressing the Chardonnay. It tastes pretty good considering the tough year it's been for the variety. I'm going to do the primary ferment in a steel tank so I can better control the fermentation rate and temperature. In the past I had fermented in barrels exclusively. I'm hoping to pull out more fruit notes by keeping the ferment slow and steady and off wood. Then I will put the wine into barrel for aging. This technique should lead to the use of better quality lees, but more on that later.

Sunday morning I headed back up to Leesburg with six more cases of wine. I worked the festival which was busy but not too bad. Apparently Saturday had been at least twice as bad and Sarah had fewer helpers. There are no easy jobs in wine. Turned out we could have sold even more. I always like to say "sorry, we're sold out," though. Drove home Sunday night, trailer in tow. Stopped at Five Guys for dinner. I love Five Guys. Tip: Get the "little," single burger. It's plenty big, and the double burger is so beefy you can't taste the toppings. Another tip: Order the regular size fries, not the large. You get more than you need. And put the malt vinegar on 'em.

Today, Monday, I returned the trailer to Charlottesvile. It was cheaper than I though. Just $75. Then I racked the pressed Chardonnay over to a clean tank. Racking is when wine or juice is allowed to settle out solids to the bottom of its tank and then the clear liquid above is moved to another vessel, leaving the solids behind. It's a means of clarifying. In this case it is done to improve the quality of the ferment and keep off odors from becoming a problem. You can get juice too clear, though. Some of those solids are necessary for yeast nutrition and without enough you run the risk of a fermentation problem. We'll see if I guessed right. I pitched the yeast in and now the wine should be on the way.


At 1:18 AM, Blogger Dezel said...

Hello Tim,

Enjoying the information you share here, awesome! Curious, what is it about this year that makes it difficult for Chards? I know I have read articles that say expect the same great whites in 2006 as there were in 2005. Did the late showers have a negative influence?

I also attended the wine festival on Saturday but it was so busy and crowded that I did not get to all the booths I had planned; many festival goers do not use the best wine tasting etiquette unfortuantely when dozens of people are lined up behind them.

As for 5 guys, when I 1st moved from TX and visited the store for the 1st time I ordered a 2x burger and large fries; hey we like everything big in Texas. Needless to say I could not believe the brown garbage sack of fries they gave me. I hate to see good fries go to waste so I think I ate enough that day to hold me over for 2 days … But man it was delicious.

It sounds like the festival was a success; will you guys be at Mount Vernon? Do hope to visit your winery soon and try some of your wines.

Happy Sipping!

Dezel of Virginia Vine Spot

At 3:24 PM, Blogger CPmanager said...

Tim--just wanted to add what stellar help we had at the booth this weekend; Tracy and Kim, who work in the tasting room, showed that they can handle the outdoor venues like pros. And Kim was definitely the hero for bringing in Nupa and Puja(sp??) on Saturday, and Jen on Sunday. It was the first time pouring wine in any kind of venue for all three, but you would never have guessed. When can you guys move to Cville??!! And it was great to have Martin, a CP veteran, behind the bar on Sunday as well. I look forward to being able to take you to dinner after the Mount Vernon festival, Martin! Anyway, we are very lucky to have such awesome people pouring wines for us.

Dezel--we will be at the Mount Vernon festival--stop by if you're there!



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