Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grape New Year

The phone rings, the emails ping-pong back and forth. Prices, brix, acid, and juice-or-fruit questions fly around. Its harvest time and we are scrambling to buy the best fruit and juice to make the new season’s wine.

I admire farmers in general but in my line of work I especially admire vineyard owners. A few days can make for a better or worse crop in terms of when-to-pick; a late rain can dilute the sugar; no sun can inhibit ripeness; and so much of these factors are out of control of the owner.

They can be smart and they can be just fortunate in weather, rain, bugs, and timing. The difference for the wine made from the fruit can be huge and the financial rewards are also up in the air. Some vineyard owners grow for wineries and some grow for their own winery, only their excess is available to us other guys.

But we are happy when we find some great fruit at a good price. I never complain about prices because I know how much work growing grapes is, if the price is too high, I don’t buy. Most often the higher priced fruit comes from the independent growers, they have no winery to subsidize the grape growing. I try to buy at least half my fruit from these folks, they allow small wineries to make great wine through their efforts, they deserve whatever premium they can get for the work.

I love the smell of yeast in the morning, it smells like, victory! Ok, I also love the smell all day….

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