On Sunday we finished harvesting the Pinots. After the large harvest party, Mark and I sat on the deck enjoyed some refreshments and watched a woodpecker in a small patch of Cabernet. This morning Mark said all the grapes in that patch were gone. Seemed crazy that birds could wipe out a field in one morning.
Seems it wasn't birds but a bear came into the field last night. On the trail, was scat filled with grapes. We used to have problems with bears in a field we removed because it was close to the woods. This scat was close to the wine shed where we all celebrated yesterday.
Last Saturday was a busy day here at Borgo Pass Vineyard. Some of our regular u-pick customers spent the day picking the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. Grapes were picked into totes which can weigh up to 90 pounds when full. Each tote gets picked up by us at least three times before it is hauled away to be made into wine . Everyone was tired by the end of the day. We had literally picked up tons.
Usually we are finished with harvest by this time of year but luckily October has been a warm month. While Oregon needs rain to help with the drought situation and the fire in the Cascades, we still have Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to be harvested.
Mark predicted that harvest would be later this year because of date of bud break. There was a late frost that affected many of the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. We had gotten accustomed to harvesting the pinot noir grapes in late September. This year Mother Nature had different plans.
The pinot noir is currently around 20 brix. The birds have moved in so like every year Mark is spending the next few weeks running birds out of the vineyard. Our new pup, Georgina, likes to help with the chase.
We look forward to seeing all you home winemakers in the month ahead.
All the vineyard is beginning to ripen. The pinot grapes are currently about 19 brix. No need for a refractometer to measure the sugars, the sound of robins in the field indicates harvest is soon. After months of tending the plants, now the task is to keep the birds from eating the fruits of your labor. It is a toss up what the birds like better, cherries or grapes. The birds will fly from field to field when we try to chase them out of the vineyard. There are lots of gadgets sold to keep birds out of the grapes but none of them really work for long. However, a red tail hawk show up and all the fields are bird free. That's when we thank Mother Nature for giving us a break.
Chilly Cold Sunday Morning
September has been a strange month weather wise. Usually the nice warm days in September ripen the grapes, but this year has been cold and rainy. We had gotten spoiled with the warm Septembers of the past few years . Looking through our records, scrambling to harvest before the rains has happened in the past but usually a couple of weeks later. The vineyards around us are also busy picking grapes. We will be bundling up Monday morning and and start picking the Pinot Noir. Seems like Mother Nature has her way of keeping us humans in our place.
October 27th, 2018
Wine barrels are an important part of the wine making process. The history of cooperage and wine are interlinked. Making a watertight boat probably led to the making of a barrel.
Around 350 B.C. the Celts elaborated rounded watertight recipients that were able to withstand stress (from rolling) and weight (from stacking). Ever since that time the barrel has been manufactured using basically the same .
Check out this youtube of barrel making completely with hand tools. The work out actually happened at work instead of at the gym.
Harvest is finally finished
This Indian Summer has been great for the grapes. The last grapes to ripen were the lower end of the Gamay Beaujolais. We picked it today and were pleased with the sugar level of 24 brix as the clusters were really lush and large.
We spent the day crushing and pressing for juice. We gave some of it to Kayla for her family. We also stuffed every refrigerator on the place with juice and will spend the weekend processing it. We drink a lot of grape juice so this should see us through the winter months.
We look forward to harvest each year because our u pickers have become our friends over the years. We have a number of faithful home winemakers and make a few new friends as well each fall.
Vineyards around the Alpine area have started harvesting and these gris are ready. Yesterday the Pinot Gris were Brix 25, pH 3.3 . U pickers are on their way.
We have numerous pinot fields around the vineyard. The south slope field is ready to harvest as well. Given that we have numerous variety of grapes at Borgo Pass Vineyard the harvest starts now but won't be completed until the end of October.
Sugars are on the Rise
Hot weather is in the forecast which is really going to help raise up the brix. The forecasters are currently calling for some 80 degree days the last week in September. We have checked some of the brix and looks like pinot noir will crush out at about 22 at the moment. Of course, some areas of field are riper than others but looks like harvest will officially begin the last weekend in September.
This was taken today, September 21st - Pinot Noir
Pinot gris is thought to be a mutant of pinot noir. According to Wikipedia, it normally has a greyish blue grape but colors can vary an be brownish pink to black in color. We believe we are sold out of the gris at this time. We will know more about poundage once we start harvesting them.
Mother Nature's Call
Mark mentioned that there is starting to be some color change in the grapes especially the Pinot Meunier. The grapes have loved this hot weather, but it seems that the fall really has the final say when it comes to the ripening of the grapes. In the past, harvest has not started until the end of September, but the last couple of seasons we have started in mid September
Mark and the crew do their best to tend the grapes so we have a high quality wine grape. In the end, we just wait and see what Mother Nature offers us. Each fall we are reminded that control is an illusion and to live in the moment.