Thursday, September 18, 2008

Prep for Chardonnay

We left this morning at 8am to head to Chaine d'Or. Our goal for the day was to prep the crush pad and vineyard for tomorrows harvest. The first step was for Jerry and I to give everything another good cleaning and scrub down, then sterilize with citric acid.

This is Jerry inside the large tank.

Next up was the press. This is a fussy piece of equipment and hard to clean. Both Jerry and I have band-aids on now. It's Italian, and is as fussy as an Italian sports car. Hard to clean, prone to failures, and just generally high maintenance. It doesn't really help that all the buttons are in Italian. We did get it running and checked out though

White wine is a more complex process than red. Here you can see everything ready for hook up. The grapes will drop into the press and the juice will be pumped into the waiting tank. The tank is chilled to 50 degrees so the gross lees will fall out of the juice.

This is as hard and dangerous as it looks. This is one reason we don't like to use volunteers with the Chardonnay harvest. We have to use the forklift to get the crusher in the back of a pick up. It weighs about 900 pounds. Then we have to drive the truck to right over the press and balance everything there. My first job at Chaine d'Or was to be the 'truck and pump' guy. I stood in the bed of the truck dumping the grapes in the crusher, then when it would fill up, I'd pump the juice into the tank.

This is the view from the bottom. The tarp is to keep the stems out of the vat. It gets messy and is noisy. I'll keep everyone away from this area tomorrow.

While Jerry and I fussed with all the equipment, our lab mistress was hard at work getting readings from the Woodruff Family, Arastradero an Cabernet portion of Chaine d'Or vineyards.

Jerry is out now removing netting. I'll join him shortly. The sales rep from Sequin Moreau is dropping off the Chardonnay barrels in about 30 minutes. We'll take a short break for lunch, then finish the day removing secondary clusters from all the Chardonnay before the crew arrives tomorrow.

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