Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grapes have been delivered and are ready for pressing

The grapes have been put into the winery warehouse and will be crushed
and pressed tomorrow. Almost 900 lbs.

Grapes made it to the winery

We just got to Algoma where the grapes will be processed.

All the grapes are picked

Here is an empty Foch vine .... All the Foch are picked.

Trailer is Full!!!!

I guess I had a good crew. We filled up the trailer by noon. And all
are picked.

Last row to pick

We are down to the last row.

A lot of hands make quick work

My brother-in-law Dave and his parents tackling a bunch of Foch.

Grandma and Treva sorting through the grapes

Grandma is getting lots of help from Treva.

An early morning start to picking

Rains just went through, so it will be a wet early start to picking.

Live Blogging from Sampson Valley Vineyard Today

Today is picking day for the Foch. I'm going to try to blog
throughout the day from my phone. Hopefully add a few pictures too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Foch Picking on Tuesday

The foch will be picked on Tuesday. My number aren't stellar .... brix ~18 and ph about 3.00, but the yellow jackets are beginning to cause damage, and the Winery will be crushing and pressing on Wednesday, so it is time to get them in. I'll send an update with Tuesday or Wednesday with final sugar and acid numbers and hopefully some pictures.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Surviving a frost .... barely

It was a tense weekend. Due to the drought, and overcroping my foch, I need to let the foch grapes hang longer to ripen. As of Thursday, they were still under 18 brix. The forecast for Friday night had us on the edge of a frost warning, so I decided to spend the night in the Vineyard.

I got to the vineyard at about 9:30 pm. I checked my max min thermometer, which is in the upper part of the vineyard. It already read 38 F!!!! I had to hustle. The skies had quickly cleared, and I knew it would only be a matter of a couple of hours before I reached freezing.

My pump for my sprayer had broken a couple of weeks ago, and I brought up a replacement. I got the sprayer working by about 10:30 pm. I filled my sprayer tank with filtered warm pond water. I also added some potassium bicarbonate to the tank ... an organic mixture to kill powdery mildew. It also has some frost protection ability.
ATV with Sprayer.

I made the first run without incident. I put another thermometer in the bottom corner of the vineyard where the cold air pools. by the time I finished my first spraying, the temperature in the bottom corner was about 33F. I went back to the pond to refill.

I brought a sleeping bag and gear to take naps between vineyard runs. I decided to abandon any sleeping plans when I found that the temperature was dropping so fast.

I made about 8 to 10 total runs between the pond and the vineyard. The temperture at the top of the hill in the vineyard made it down to about 30F. The lowest temperature I saw in the bottom corner was 25.3F ....

By sunrise most of the vines had a thin coat of ice (see the picture at the top) The thickest ice was in the bottom corner.

In the end all of the foch with fruit survived the frost with minimal leaf damage.

Foch with grapes made it.

The foch in the bottom corner did get quite a bit of frost/freeze kill, but some of the upper leaves made it through. None of these vines had any fruit, and their survival through the frost was less critical.
Frost damaged foch vine.

The projected harvest of Foch, is now Tuesday, September 25. The folks at Captain's Walk Winery are planning to make a blush style wine from it .... that is if it survives until I can pick it :) The yellow jackets have discovered the grapes, and have begun to damage some fruit. Hopefully the lady bugs don't find them too.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Some Heat, some Sun, maybe a bit overcropped?

Well we have had a solid week of sun and a few days of some pretty high heat (a high of 92 F!). As of last night the foch brix are about 17.3, the St Pepin are 17.1 and the LaCrosse pulls up the rear at 15.6.

I made a little plot of the Brix and Ph over the last few weeks. I have only been taking the Ph readings the last couple of weeks, and put it in a spread sheet. The solid lines are the brix (scale on the left) The dashed lines are the Ph(scale on the right.) What's interesting, is that during the cool rainy period during the second week from the end of August, brix did not change much. It really climbed during the sunny moderately warm period, the next week, but then slowed again when the sunny and very high heat arrived this week. The Ph in general has not changed much at all, with the exception of the foch ph going up substantially over the last few days. I think I will be picking the Foch the weekend of September 15.

The LaCrosse seems to be progressing the most steadily, but it seems to be the variety with the most significant disease problems too. I may pick these next weekend, no matter what their brix. They seem to have a thinner skin and are less durable than the St. Pepin. Any I don't sell will be chapitallized (sugar added) and made into a dry white wine.

The St Pepin have reached a little over 17 brix, and will probably make it to 18 by next weekend. Any of those that don't sell will probably be allowed to hang, and be harvested for a late harvest sweet wine.

The foch are by far the most healthy looking, but also a bit overcropped. If I would have anticipated the drought this summer, I would have thinned the crop, so the vines could more easily ripen their load.