Monday, September 14, 2009

...After the rain has fallen

"Thunderbolt and lightning-very very frightening me"
--Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

"There's a threat of rain on the dark horizon and all that's left is a
quarter moon of light"
--Sting, "After the Rain has fallen."

The astute weather watcher out there knows that Napa went through a bit of a rollercoaster this past weekend. Saturday morning, 2:30 AM, I'm in my back yard in old wildland gear and boots, monitoring the fire band radio, wondering if we're going to have to deal with the "Napa Wildfire of '09". Fortunately, the dry lightning stayed well South of us.

Sunday evening had very light sprinkles, great for keeping the dust down. In fact, it was just enough to clean the dust off our solar panels, and our array is back up to 100%, no water or squegee required!

The system dropped about 0.16 inch of rain to us here at the top of the Spring Mountain District, giving our red varietals a much needed drink...we dry farm this is the first sip they haven't had to work for since the springtime. This has resulted in both sugar and acid levels droping fairly uniformly across the vineyard...more waiting.

The only serious concern was our Chardonnay, which is still about a week away from harvest. Although we had no signs of Botrytis going into this weekend, we want to make sure our fruit stays clean and mold free. Fortunately, the sun was out, and a gentle breeze dried off most of the fruit quickly. Chardonnay grows in very dense and tight clusters, and these tend to trap and hold moisture...what we needed today was a really large blow drier: enter the minds of Fred and Andy Schweiger...

What you see below is something quite novel this time of year, my father, driving an empty's our BLOW DRIER! Our spray rig is equipped with a very large, powerful fan, producing about a 50 mph breeze through the vines. Although you can't see it in the video, droplets of water are blowing out of the clusters, providing us with clean, dry fruit.


Andy Schweiger, Winemaker and blow dry stylist, Schweiger Vineyards.


The Other Ann Miller said...

The lightning show was cool but I was wondering how it would affect the grapes. Thanks for telling me what I wanted to know.

kristina Streeter said...

And the blower dryer--what a great concept!