Thursday, January 21, 2010

so it goes

I have told many people who visit the winery one of the winemaker’s challenges is following the progression of taste a wine goes through as it matures. I taste the wine every other week to see what progress has come about, check it for surface molds (yuck!), and check sugar and acid levels.

As an example, I have a wine we put into barrels this fall that I have decided is too sweet, we stopped the fermentation too soon. So I have the choice of re-fermenting all the wine again and trying to stop it at a better sugar level, or do one barrel and ferment it all the way to dryness and then blend it into the too-sweet remaining stock. Which method I choose has yet to be decided, but either should accomplish what we need here, a properly balanced wine.

Last weekend we moved a lot of wine around, “racking” or transferring wine from one container to another has a significant effect on the flavor and character. It is a little more work for us to rack then a typical winery since we have to minimize oxygen contact with the wine since we do not use sulfites as a preservative. The racking process also causes the wine to precipitate out many solids that might otherwise drop out in the bottle.

So the winemaking process goes on, and on, and on. It is what makes winemaking interesting and a constant challenge. But if you do not love it, you might as well get another job…

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New & Improved?

So what is the new stuff in the new year? Well, we are going to upgrade the winery website, I have the first draft done, tried to upload it, but no go yet. So I have some homework to do on how to tear down the old site and replace it with the new.

New seating for the winery? We are considering replacing some seating we have know with some more of the theatre-style seats we already have some of in place. This will allow us to return the old folding seats to storage for use when needed, we often have private parties exceed 20 people.

Background music? One of the many little things about the winery that make me smile is our current “music system”. It’s a $39 Walmart boom box I picked up just before we opened the winery, seeing I was not going to have time install a proper music system before we opened. To think we are still using it six and a half years later is fairly funny, but what’s even funnier is the comments I’ve gotten about how good it sounds. In my day job I sell commercial audio, both fore- and back-ground systems. It’s the old story of the plumber whose wife has a leaky sink that never gets fixed. We have the equipment in-house now to get the right stuff hooked up and sounding good, including outdoors!

Will there be new wines coming out soon? Possibly, we have a blueberry and a Gewurztraminer that are getting close to drink-ability and we might just have those available in the next few months.

The biggest change at the winery is we have new hours since the first of the year. They really are not “new”, we’ve been following this policy since our third year. We are now open SATURDAY and SUNDAY ONLY until June. Still 1-6 PM, so you will find us there at the usual times. One small change is we are keeping the staff on throughout the year and we (Rick & Betty Jo) will be in the winery from time-to-time. We had a very busy 2009 winter season and we thought the extra help would be useful, plus allow us to do more things besides work in the winery every weekend.
Ahh the (almost) Good Life…