|perfect chemistry for picking|
We have not seen a crop like we have hanging now for quite a number of years. The process of estimating the size of a crop is a very imperfect art.Mark and I have been in the vineyard regularly for the past several weeks, and Mark has worked out a rough estimate for the Chardonel. Our guess at this point is that we will have about seventy-three tons of Chardonel. This tonnage rivals some of our best years. Some areas of Missouri are reporting that their harvests are later than usual, but in Ste. Genevieve, we are right on schedule with our best years. For us, a normal harvest ~ if there is such a thing ~ occurs a couple of weeks after Labor Day. At the present time, the harvest parameters are where we would like to see them, and we began picking today! What that means is the grape chemistry reached its perfect level about two weeks ago, and the flavors in the individual grapes have developed to a complex multi-dimensional level. It has been our experience that it takes a week or sometimes a little bit more after the chemistry is perfect for these complex flavors to develop. Not all wineries view this as we do. In fact many of our neighbors have already begun their harvest. We think that allowing the extra time will ultimately produce a better wine.
A lot of preparation for harvest has been accomplished. In a previous newsletter, I mentioned that our estimates of the harvest were such that we needed more tank room. The new tanks are here. The chilling system has been overhauled and is ready to do its work. The air pump motor in the press has been replaced, andthe press is working like new. All the pumps have been tested and prepared for harvest. A group of 15 pickers worked all morning and afternoon. The scales to weigh the bins were delivered and in place. All of the fermentation chemicals have been ordered and are here: yeasts, malolactic bacteria, yeast nutrients, fining agents and tannins.
The one thing that we still don’t know is how many tons of grapes we will be harvesting. If it’s at a level that I now think it is, we will be doing a couple of extra things. One is that we will again produce a “Spontaneous” Chardonel. It also looks like we will beproducing a “Rock Glade” Chardonel bottling this year.