Friday, August 31, 2007

What IS Tim doing?

You may be wondering what this thing is that Tim is looking through. It's called a hand refractometer. It is one of the many tools a winemaker uses during harvest season. I think it is an amazing little thing and is used to measure the sugar level in grapes to see if they are ready to harvest. It's very handy because it can be used right in the vineyard and only needs a drop of juice. Our grapes are not quite there yet. They will need another couple of weeks on the vine.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vineyard Workers

As I walked up the vineyard rows Saturday to take pictures of the sun setting I noticed this spider busily at work building its web. That made me reflect on all the living critters at work in the vineyard and made me once again appreciate how complicated nature is and how interdependent we all are on each other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One Month Until Opening!

Our Grand Opening is in one month and we are busy getting ready. All the wine Tim made last fall, the Syrah, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Riesling is in bottles and will be available for tasting. The labels are in and the glasses have been delivered (actually, they are sitting next door on Callaghan's porch until Tim and I can get over there to fetch them). Last week-end Ian and Rhain visited from New York City and consulted on designing the tasting area. Tim and I are working on that. Kathryn and I are planning a fun event starting with a blog scavenger hunt. The first item to find will appear on our web site soon. So check back in the next day or two to start collecting the answers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


A lot is happening this time of the year. The air and sun are getting Fall'ish. The mornings start out just a bit cooler. The daytime shadows are just a bit longer. The sunsets seem to linger just that tiny bit more. The white wine grapes from Willcox are getting close to harvest. The grapes at our vineyard are becoming increasingly purple - that intense black, purple that only grapes become. The yeast and fermentation supplies have arrived from the suppliers. The wine from last year is nearly all in bottles, making room in the winery for the new juice that will come soon enough. Magic.

Farm dogs

I can't say our dogs are the hardest working of vineyard dogs but they sure are the most adorable, don't you agree? Lisa, next door at Callaghan's and Sarah, up the road a piece at Rancho Rossa may disagree but I'm going to stick my neck out here a little and claim that little Emma and ol' Cassie are the most adorable vineyard dogs this side of the Canelos!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Sometimes the monsoon brings a gentle rain. Sometimes it's a dramatic electrical storm that is visible in the distance and is a treat to watch from the front porch. Sometimes it's crash bang right overhead. Crash bang overhead is bad when it's full of falling ice. Hail beats the crap out of plants and bruises grapes. Sometimes it's just a deluge. We haven't had the irrigation turned on in a month due to the monsoon rainfall. This storm last week that dumped 2.3 inches was a bit much.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

My (and Emma's) Favorite Job

Every year we get behind on putting the wires up on the trellising. So we do it little by little, usually at the end of the day. My job is to watch the wire coming off the spool and fix it if it gets tangled while Tim walks up and down the rows attaching the wire to the poles. I sure have the better end of this job!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cover Crop

In starting our vineyard I had a goal of impacting the natural environment as little as possible and if I could, even leave some of it in better shape. One of my goals has been to use a cover crop between the rows for soil fertility and vine nutrition. This is hard to do in an arid area as I didn't want the crop to use the precious irrigation water. With lots of expert help I chose tepary beans, a legume grown in Southern Arizona by the Tohono O'odham people for centuries. This is the second year we planted them just before the start of the monsoon rains. The beans are growing with only the natural rainfall. As soon as they flower the beans will be tilled into the soil to enrich it with nitrogen. We also planted some on the side of the winery building for harvest. So far the experiment is going well.