Journal | September 11, 2017

Hardscrabble Journal

In the Barn

Today is the last “hurricane pick” day. We will be bringing in some, but not all of the Hardscrabble old vine Chardonnay. Frankly, I would like it to be a bit riper, but one section of the block has some bunch rot that could explode if we get the forecasted 3 or 4 days of lingering rain later this week. The oldest vines (planted in 1985), which are lower vigor and have less rot seem like they could “weather the weather”. Looks like we will not get much accumulation from Irma, but will get on and off damp conditions, When we are not picking or crushing we will be continuing leaf pulling Merlot and then Cabernet so that the area around the cluster zone is well aerated and will dry more quickly after a rain shower, reducing the chance of rot.

Yesterday was a “plan B” day on the crush pad. The destemmer would not start. My great fear of mixing electronics and lots of water came true (at least I think that is the problem). We decided to bypass the destemmer and crusher and go directly to press with the whole clusters. It is actually a common technique, but we are not really set up for it (we would need much larger presses as one can only get half the amount of grapes in a press if they are not de-stemmed and crushed). I was pleased with the juice quality, but it made an anticipated short day into a long one. So now all the Avenius and Boisseau white grapes are off the vine and in the cellar.

We can limp along without a destemmer for the rest of the whites, but it is critical for the reds. I may have to bring back into service our retired destemmer from the 1990’s. It hasn’t been used for years. Don’t have a Plan C, but at least we have a few weeks before the reds are ready to pick.

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Hardscrabble JournalJim Law