September 2010 – Almost there

It’s getting so close you can feel it. Grapes are being tested daily for sugar levels and tasted to see how they are coming along. It’s the last time before crush to get any equipment fixed, get tanks ready, and make space for the new grapes for the 2010 vintage once they are picked. Winery people (vineyard managers, wine makers, etc), who generally seem pretty easy-going and relaxed most of the time, are noticeably less so at this time of year. There’s a lot riding on what will happen over the next couple of months and they have every reason to be a little on edge. That’s the excitement of making wine and most of them really love being on that edge – it’s why they signed up for the gig.

Tim Martiniuk told me that he thinks harvest is still "about a month away" if the weather holds. Of course, that's the big unknown. (Click on the photo to go to Stoneboat's website.)
Some of Stoneboat's famous Pinot Noir (Sept 14th, 2010)
Pinot Noir has a tendency to genetically mutate within the same vine. Individual Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris clusters can frequently be seen growing on Pinot Noir vines. (The same thing can happen on Pinot Blanc or Gris vines where an occasional Pinot Noir cluster will show up.)
Stoneboat's "other red" Pinotage. (Sept 14th, 2010)
With its tightly bunched clusters, Pinotage looks very similar to Pinot Noir and for good reason - Pinot Noir is one of the parents of Pinotage (along with Cinsault). It was developped in South Africa in 1925 and is still one of South Africa's claim to viticultural fame.


View from the tower at Burrowing Owl Vineyards on the Black Sage Bench.
Chardonnay growing at Burrowing Owl. White grapes turn from unripe green to a lighter yellow (for Chardonnay or Riesling) or pink (for Pinot Gris or Gewuztraminer)