Today was the last day of crush for us.  No more cleaning hoses, clamps, bins, rakes, shovels, the concrete pad, not to mention the crusher itself.  Every time you think,”this thing couldn’t possibly have any remaining organic material”, another damn grape skin appears from nowhere. 

We had 5 bins of Lodi Merlot, each weighing 850-1,000 lbs.  Chuck and Neil brought it from the cold-storage facility last night about 5:30, and we tractored it to the back of our barn where it would sit all night.  The bins were triple-thick cardboard, lined with a plastic bag.  We wrapped closed the bags and placed the top on hoping this would deter the zillions of fruit flies looking for a home.  The next day we would elevate the bins one at a time to make it easier to shovel and rake the grapes into the crusher.

For anyone who doesn’t think fruit and vegetables are alive, they should be around when a 1,000 bag of freshly harvested grapes is opened.  Since the plastic bag was crudely sealed during the night, condensation had formed and it felt as if they took a deep breath when we rolled the bag open.  They were cool to the touch, but once we dug into the pile the temperature steadily increased.  By the time we reached the middle, they began releasing steam into the cool morning air.  They were really warm to the touch now and slightly macerated.  Certainly more stemmy than the Cab, the fruit smelled sweet and the juice was a beautiful deep ruby color.  By the bottom we were scooping  a pulpy, seedy juice mixture into the crusher.  We’ll cool the must with dry ice like last night and tomorrow the yeast will probably begin again!

Chuck and Brooke started irrigating the Cab Franc for their last soak of the season, but not before pulling some samples from our ’09 vintage.  The nose of each deepening by the day, the palate layering flavors across the tongue that weren’t there three months ago.  We are all certainly encouraged and excited.

Enough about wine now, Olivia has just woken from a nap and its time to play!

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