Monday, February 26, 2007

Labels... are on.

Last Thursday the naked bottles of Quattro and Rockfish Red finally got covered. It was a long, uneventful day. Labeling already full bottles, called "shiners," is frankly anticlimatic. We know how the wine tastes now. There was no anticipation and no welcome feeling of putting the vintage to bed. The wine's been in bed for weeks, getting it's beauty sleep. No, the labeling process was all the work, plus some, with no dramatic climax. I really appreciate the help from Dan, Roberto, Trey, Susan, Daniel, and Jose-Luis all that much more. Can't wait for next time.

Speaking of, next bottling is March 12. We'll put the 2006 Viognier and A6 "to bed." Also, a very limited release of Riesling made in a fairly dry style. I'm tweaking all the wines right now, but they're all pretty good. I think the 2006 whites are fairing better, generally, than the reds. All the rain during September affected the October harvested reds ripening. Sure, the rain diluted the September harvest whites, but the flavors from the warm summer are pushing through. Hopefully that will be true of the reds with time.

I'm putting up our new winery sign. I think I mentioned earlier that hooligans stole our original sign. The new one is identical, but I plan on making it a bit tougher to snatch. Did you know you can buy bear traps on Ebay?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bottle Neck

Yesterday we bottled the 2007 Quattro and Rockfish Red. It is great to have them in bottle. Unfortunately, we did not LABEL the bottles yesterday. There is always something that can go wrong. Yesterday it was the labelling machine's turn to foul the works. We use a mobile bottling line to bottle. This is a trailer that contains a trillion dollars worth of high-tech Italian bottling equipment... just begging to break down. Joe, the bottling line owner is phenomenal, and I don't blame him for a second. There is just a lot that can go wrong on the line. The malfunction yesterday was at the bottle sensing motherboard that tells the machine "put a label on now." Just wouldn't work. Joe tried to fix it, but with weather coming (4 inches of snow last night), I decided to get the wine in bottle. Now, we'll need to run all the cases back through the machine when the labeler is working in a couple of weeks. No worries on the availablity this weekend of the two wines though. We have a high-tech hand labeler at Cardinal Point named Sarah. Speaking of, thanks very much to Sarah, Jodie, Christine, Roberto, David, Bob, Bill, Susan, and Trey for working the bottle line yesterday. And thank you to Mom for helping out and giving me a birthday cake during lunch. That was really nice!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday and there's work to do. Bottling is coming up on February 6. That's this Tuesday. The forecast temperature for Tuesday: 20F! This will add some extra effort to the bottling campaign. The mobile bottling line sets up outside on the crush pad. I'll need to keep the empty bottles inside until the last second they are needed. Essentially temperature management of the bottles, wine, and bottling line trailer is necessary so that the labels will stick to the bottle. It's all about condensation. So, though not insurmountable, our finite space in the winery will require a lot of forethought and muscle in order to make this a smooth bottling. Plus, it'll be damn cold!

The best wine appreciation article I've read in years: