Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vintage updates from PEJU!

Hi and welcome to our harvest blog! We’ll be giving you the down and dirty on harvest at Peju. Yes, fall in the Valley is romantic and beautiful with the pleasant smells of grapes wafting through the air, but in our world of wine production, things are not always so glamorous. We’ll take you through the process with us every step of the way, good, bad and ugly – all of the things that make the final product even more rewarding. We have a blast along the way and continue to learn new ways of making the absolute best wines we can from our vineyards. So here we go…

In order to ramp up for a busy three months of picking, fermenting and barreling, we recruit the brightest, best and most fun harvest interns from around the world! Every year we draft talent from foreign countries this year we have a South African, named Arno Smith who hold a degree in Enology and Viticulture from Elsenburg and who has done vintage in Australia and South Africa. He is not only super friendly and smart, but more importantly FUN! Luckily he arrived just in time (with only one small Visa snafu) to help us prep the cellar for harvest and finish bottling our 2007 Napa Valley red wines.

We kicked off harvest on August 21 and have since picked all of the Sauvignon Blanc blocks from our Persephone Vineyard in Pope Valley. All was good on the harvesting end, however, once the fruit got to the winery we had a few issues: Day one, the Bin dumper on the Forklift wasn’t working (hydraulic oil leak), Day two, the hose from the Press going to the tank got clogged, Day three, a fuse on the Press went out, Day four the Transformer on the Press went out – and every day since things have been running smoothly (Yikes, I am afraid as I type this that I just might Jinx things)… On the bright side, we are noticing amazing flavors from the fruit and thus far extremely pleased with what we are seeing this vintage! At this point all the SB has gone to tank, yeast has been added and fermentation is in full gear (btw, our cellar has the most marvelous smell).

We also received 60,000 predatory mites via FedEx this week to release in our organically farmed Rutherford vineyard! Spider mites- beware! The microscopic “good mites” arrive on bean plants that we in turn place throughout the vineyard canopy. The good mites make their new home in the vineyard and prey on all the bad bugs that can hurt the vines. It’s a great alternative to pesticides and chemical sprays.

Next up – Chardonnay and Syrah! We’ll tell you all about it in next week’s adventures…

Cheers, Salute, Prost, Gesondheid!

Sara Fowler
PEJU Winery

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