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Cabernet on the Vine

Cabernet on the Vine

This is just a short post…Today I will be heading out into the vineyards with our Vineyard Manager Kevin to take photos of the grapes as they are today. The fields are going through veraison, which means the onset of ripening! This is an exciting time at the winery as we watch this change and see the grapes getting ready for harvest and then crush!

Stay tuned as I will be doing a post on this topic!

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This year, with the strange weather we have had, it looks like the winery will be bringing in the grapes early! I took a stroll through the vineyards the other day and thought that I would share some of the shots with you today!

The grapes on the Cabernet Sauvignon canes are developing very nicely!

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

The color on these grapes will shortly start to change from green to a lovely deep purple.

Closer up to the Cabernet

Closer up to the Cabernet

Here is one view of the vineyard. In the background you will see Chardonnay vines and to the upper left is Sauvignon Blanc!

A view of the vineyard

A view of the vineyard

Looking around a bit, the vines on the rolling hills in this shot are Zinfandel vines.

Zinfandel along the rolling hills

Zinfandel along the rolling hills

Sitting just outside of the vineyard an old piece of equipment sits idle.

An old piece of equipment

An old piece of equipment

Stay tuned for a post on the 2013 crush!

Thank you for stopping by today, and may you have a splendid Tuesday!

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This week’s subject for the WordPress Photo Challenge is “Change.” This got me to thinking of the changes that I see every year in the process of making wine, so I thought that I would share with you the process of making wine…

In the winter the vineyard sleeps. While we get snow here is does not negatively effect the vines. There is a quiet beauty found in the sleeping vineyard.

The vineyard sleeps

The vineyard sleeps

When spring arrives the vines awaken. The first green makes its appearance on the vines, and this is known as “bud break.” Shortly thereafter the grape clusters appear.

After bud break the Cabernet grapes appear

After bud break the Cabernet grapes appear

Towards the end of the growing season the clusters ripen and change color.

Cabernet on the vine

Cabernet on the vine

Once harvested, the grapes are brought in. Here is a bin loaded with Cabernet waiting to start the crush process.

Cabernet waiting to be crushed

Cabernet waiting to be crushed

The grapes are dropped into an auger that will regulate the flow of grapes to the sorting table.

The process of crush begins

The process of crush begins

After being hand sorted, where bad clusters, leaves and other debris is removed, the grapes head up a conveyor to the machine that will remove the grapes from the stems.

Heading towards the destemmer

Heading towards the destemmer

From the destemmer, the grape matter, including the seeds, go straight to a tank to begin fermentation.

Ready to start fermentation

Ready to start fermentation

Once in the tank fermentation begins, and while the skins of the grapes carry a yeast, it is not enough to really get fermentation going. So good quality yeast is added. The skins and seeds, along with the juice, will sit in the tanks for a week to 10 days. When fermentation hits 50% the tanks are drained and all is processed through a crush machine. 30% of the juice that will become wine comes from the skins and seeds. Here is a shot of the juice coming out of the press.

After fermenting in tanks the skins get crushed

After fermenting in tanks the skins get crushed

From the crush machine, the juice is then transferred to barrels where it will sit for the next year and half to two years.

Barrels of wine

Barrels of wine

Work is done on the barrels throughout this time frame until the wine is ready for bottling. From there is goes out for sale. Who does not enjoy a glass of wine?

The finished product

The finished product

I hope that you enjoyed this post of change! Please take some time to check out what others have posted in this challenge by clicking here!

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope that you have a great weekend!

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I love the flavor of sweet red flame grapes! We have nine vines in our fruit orchard, and this year we discovered what we think is a Thompson Seedless! We planted five of the vines, and the rest were here when we moved in. Looking forward to the sweet delicate flavors of these grapes I headed to the orchard this morning.

I was heartbroken to see the number of clusters that the birds had gotten to. But we were lucky that they did not eat them all and that I was able to bring in about three pounds of grapes!

This mornings grape harvest

I trimmed off the clusters that had been left bare, and as I continued through I found hidden clusters that the birds had missed.

Can you taste the sweetness?

I discovered that only a few of the white grapes were sweet enough, and only picked a few hoping that in the coming days I will get to the remaining clusters before the birds do.

What is it that birds leave behind? This is what they left for me!

What the birds left me

😦

At least on some of these bare clusters there are still a few sweet grapes.

Red Flames and possibly Thompson Seedless

I am glad to have gotten what we did off of our vines. The next harvest should be our pears and apples. We have a few Bosc pears, and loads of Washington Delicious, Yellow Delicious and Pippin’s.

Temp’s today will be in the low hundreds. Stay tuned for a cool dinner for a hot night!

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I decided this morning to take a walk around the garden to check out how all the fruit was doing.  Want to go with me and have a look? Let’s start out in the strawberry patch – OK?

Strawberry blossom

Wow – isn’t that just beautiful? Hey and take a look at this!

A developing strawberry

The raspberries are now about a foot tall, let us go and take a look over there.

A visitor on the raspberries

And what is that I see over there?

Raspberry blossoms are showing up

How about we head over to the fruit orchard? Ah, the apricot tree. It doesn’t look like it fared well with the last snow.

The apricots didn't make it

😦 Next let’s go check out the cherries.

Cherry blossoms

There are not many of the flowers left.

Remainder of the cherry blossoms

And look at that over there! How cool!

A baby cherry!

The two pear trees seem to have bloomed. Let’s go check out the Bosc first.

Baby Bosc pear

How cute is that? Let’s go see what the Comice is up to. Did I tell you that this tree is the pollinator for my Bosc?

Comice pears

Looks like there will be some fruit! I wonder if the nectarines did OK. Shall we go see what we can see?

Baby nectarine

Way cool! Wonder what is happening with the peach. We had no stone fruit last year so this is exciting!

Baby peach

There is nothing better than a sweet Elberta peach…well, except for maybe a plum!

Baby plums

This tree is a five in one. That means there are five different varieties of plums on this one tree! Every branch looks loaded! And look over there! The grapes buds are bursting!

Grape buds

That little green bit that you see middle left will actually develop into a bunch of grapes! One last stop before I head off to take photos of other things in the yard. Let’s go check out the almond tree. This was the first tree to bloom. Let’s see if this survived two snows…

Baby almond

Well there are not many, but we have almonds!

Come back again for another stroll through my yard!

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When I am not writing I work at a winery in the Sierra Foothills. Below is a photo essay of my first crush! It was really an exciting time and I have been very privileged to learn a lot about the wine business, from grape growing, through fermentation, to bottling the final product.

When I first started working at the winery I was given time to go into the fields to take photos. Below are some of the photos I was able to take.

Cabernet on the Vine

These are Cabernet grapes, which up in the foothills are one of the last grapes harvested.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes Ready to Pick

These are Sauvignon Blanc grapes and they are a very fussy grape. The vines need lots of air circulation so they do not develop mold.

Chardonnay Grapes

Chardonnay is one of the most popular of the white wines. Clusters of Chardonnay are very photogenic!

When crush starts, the grapes are brought in from the fields in bins that hold between 850 to 1000 pounds. The grapes are dumped into a device that has an auger that regulates the flow of grapes to the sorting table. Here is a photo of grapes being dropped into the device with the auger.

Chardonnay on the way to be crushed.

At the winery that I work at the grapes are hand sorted as they drop onto the sorting table. Leaves, grapes that are not good quality, and any bugs that are found are removed from the line.

Grapes being hand sorted.

From there the grapes are dropped into a machine that removes the grapes from the stems.

Grapes drop into the de-stemmer

The white grapes then go into the press, while the red grapes go from the de-stemmer right into tanks. Here is a photo of Chardonnay coming out of the press.

Chardonnay right off the press!

The red grapes, skins, seeds and juice are all run through the press after sitting in the tanks. Thirty percent of the juice from the red grapes comes from what settles at the bottom of the tank. Here is a photo of Petite Sirah dripping from the press:

Petite Sirah off the press!

From there, the juice goes back into the tanks.

The tanks


My first crush was one that I will always remember, and I am happy to share the experience with you through the photos that I have taken. Next time you enjoy a glass of wine, remember that this is what those little guys had to go through to get to your glass! Cheers!

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