What a week we’ve had, its been busy and fun all in the same breath.  Last night @ 11:30 I finally finished the pallet of Cab Franc I’ve been labeling all week.  Satisfying, like the cigarettes I don’t smoke anymore.  It seems we’ve covered almost all the different wine ops this week, barrels, fermentation, racking and pressing.  Rest assured there are many.

Today we pressed the Lodi Cab Sauv from the open-top tank.  It was a first, last year we used macro bins for fermentation.  Trepidation abounding; we leapt into the fire.  As Chuck prepared the pumps and hoses, I sanitized the  two 600 liter tanks and trucked the 2 empty barrels inside.  We decided to “free run” two barrels first, which was a slow-moving process with lots of hydroponics involved.  Slowly the wine drained from the tank, across a grate above our collection vessel & down into the hose and on into the barrel.  We’ve never segregated this free juice before, but supposedly it makes the premier wine!  I’ll get back to you in about 18 months on that one.

Like clockwork, Neil arrived to help with the must pump.  After gravity did her bit, we pumped over the remaining juice and relocated the valve to a lower port.  As Chuck manned the wine pump and multiple hoses, Neil engaged the must pump as I hosed the slurry into the press.  About this time, Doug made an appearance.  He was on his way home from picking up his Powderhorn season pass and stopped by to ensure we weren’t screwing anything up.  After he gave us the wine makers thumb’s up, he left us with a case of much-needed Coors.  As the saying goes: it takes lots of beer to make great wine!

Cleaning the press is a bitch.  I’m writing this with dried must caked from my wrists to my arm pits, my clothes are stiff with sticky juice and my fingernails are completely black from the combination of organic material and soda ash.  We pressed 5 times before all was said and done.  The good news(it’s all good news really isn’t it), is that we are totally comfortable with using our tanks.  Wait til we crush 20 tons next year! 

While on the 4th pressing, Neil came back with Dee, Mary and John.  They were really intrigued with our operation and Mary told stories of how her father made wine in the old country when she was a kid.  She’s 80+ by the way, so her stories are enthralling. 

What a great day.  I left the house at 9:00 AM, came home at 7:00 PM, and never left the winery that entire stretch.  I can’t wait until all of my days consist of just that. 

Tomorrow Pat, Brooke, Greg and Liv all finally come home! 

Good times!