Thursday, August 30, 2012


The fruit is picked!! Thanks so much, volunteers. You really make owning a small vineyard not only possible, but fun. I might not make as much money as a doctor or lawyer, but thanks to your support and encouragement, I feel enough respect to make up for it.

After the fruit was picked, we took it up in a refrigerated truck (sans refrigeration cause it broke) to Mocksville. We crushed and destemmed and pumped it to a tank where it macerated for approx 4 days. Yesterday, I turned off the chiller to let the must warm up to prepare it for inoculation, but by the time I was pumping over this morning, it still wasn't very warm. I put the yeast in, along with some nutrients, and pumped over for 5 more minutes. When I left the winery this afternoon, the thermometer still said 59, and that's a little low for my tastes. I hope to come in tomorrow and see proof of inoculation. It could take a while to get going because the final spray we put on (3 weeks before harvest) was still quite visible on the grapes.

But I'll keep you update. Pictures to come I swear!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Harvest time!!

These past few weeks have been stressful, to say the least. After a month of little rain and hot temperatures, we've had about three weeks of moderate temps and rain almost twice a week! Some days in July were so hot that it was difficult for the plants to produce fruit. Consequently, we started running low on food about three weeks afterwards. It wasn't quite time for us to plant the fall garden, so, basically, we've been experiencing a shortage of food. We've decided to close the farm stand to the public until later in the fall. If you'd like to purchase any food, just email us and we'll get an order together for you.

The grapes will be harvested tomorrow!!! On Wednesday, the brix were at 21, so hopefully they'll be at 22 by Saturday. It's actually been a little cool for my tastes recently. I think we'll have good acid this year, but I wish the brix were a little higher. The reason we're picking now is because it seems like there will be a few rainy days ahead. The seeds are dark brown and crunchy, the sugar is ok, and I know that waiting longer could just allow the grapes to go bad. If there's one thing I've learned through growing grapes, it's that 'waiting for perfection' is an unattainable goal. In agriculture, the act of waiting can be very dangerous. It's like that bird in the hand proverb: grapes in the winery are worth more than grapes hanging on the vine.

Dad and I are going up to Raylen  this morning to pick up our harvesting bins, then over to Charlotte to get refrigerated trucks. The employees are coming in at 1 to sharpen the clippers, wash picking baskets, and start taking the nets off. We'll start  picking  at 6am. We'll need all the help we can get tomorrow, so if you're free, come out for a few hours. We culled the grapes while still on the vine, so it should go fairly quickly.

I'll post the results of the harvest as soon as I get the results from the lab. Happy Autumn everyone! It's almost time to relax.