Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tim the Winemaker/Joan the Photo Taker

You can tell my vineyard work for the season has slowed to a crawl as I am now following Tim around with my camera trained on him and his tasks. Here are some photos I took while he was disgorging the sparkling wine on Saturday. I'm sure he will be glad when I get back to work but I am having fun.

Sparking Wines Are Almost Ready

Emma is guarding the soon-to-be released Sparkling Rose'. She isn't sure she wants to part with it any time soon. But in a couple of weeks she will have to. After all, the holidays are almost here!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The word is spreading

A few weeks ago Terry Tang, a reporter from the Associated Press Bureau in Phoenix, made a trip to Soniota as background for her article on Arizona Wine. Although the article mentioned the northern Arizona wine scene, it really primarily featured the Sonoita/Elgin area. We got a nice mention. The last time I googled, the article had been picked up and published in print and internet based media all over North America. Check it out. Do a google (or your favorite search engine) search containing the following words: Terry Tang Canelo Hills Winery. It's a gas to watch the story spread. Have fun!!

Cheese Making Demo Event

Everyone who came to the goat cheese making demonstration had a great time. It was fascinating to watch cheese evolve right before our eyes. Charlie was a great presenter and her passion in making the cheese was contagious.

Tim talked about his wines. It's always fun for me to watch his love of wine making and passion about wine expressed before a group. The event went well because of Tim and Charlie and Kathryn upfront and the help behind the scenes, our son, Ian and his girl-friend Rhian. Until next time, thank you all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ding ding! The winner of our What is Tim doing? question

Thanks for all your creative guesses to what, exactly, Tim was doing with a power drill and a box of upside-down wine bottles. After my mother posted a hint, Joe guessed it exactly: Tim was riddling the bottles, which contain this year's batch of sparkling wines. They have to be rotated regularly, which helps the sediment settle into the necks of the bottles to get them ready for the next step of the process: disgorging.

My father makes our sparkling wines using the fascinating and labor-intensive traditional method known as the Méthode Champenoise. You can read about the process on Wikipedia. For some flying bottle cap fun, watch our video from last year's disgorging day.

And don't miss our Sparkling Chardonnay and Sparkling Nebbiolo Rosé wines, which will be available in very limited quantities from early November until they sell out around New Year's. We're already taking advance reservations for the sparkling wines, so if you'd like us to set aside a bottle or two for you, send us an email.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

RE: What's Tim Doing?

We got a lot of creative guesses but none were anywhere close to the winning answer. So, I am going to give you all a big hint. Tim is getting these already filled bottles ready for the holiday season. And, that is all the help I am going to give you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our first Cab Harvest

At last, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are off the vines and safely bubbling away in bins. After our first attempt to harvest was thwarted by rain and we had to send home all our volunteers, we were lucky that we could get another volunteer crew this Monday to bring in our first harvest of the Cab. It was a beautiful day in wine country, and we finished in time to share an early lunch together and celebrate the harvest. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief, because Harvest 2009 is officially complete, and it was a good one.

Many thanks to our volunteers!

Kate peeks through the vines

Carol demonstrates how to cut a cluster of grapes, and not one's finger!

Charlie inspects the harvest

Patricia poses with the tractor, loaded with picking bins, in the background

I went back through the vineyard to find missed or dropped fruit, and this was all I found in ten rows of Cab. Nice work, crew!

Kevin and Sage stayed after harvest to help load the grapes into the de-stemming machine.

Even before the grapes were harvested, you could see that the vines were ready for fall and their long winter rest.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What is Tim doing?????

Here's our latest quiz question. This time we are going to do it differently. Guess as many different answers as you like. We will put all the winning answers in a hat and pull out a winner. Although I am not sure anyone will get this one right. It is pure Tim and his inventiveness! If anyone guesses correctly, Kathryn will e-mail you your free wine tasting coupon. Good luck!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The " Almost" Cabernet Sauvignon Harvest

I took these photos of the grapes and vines last Friday thinking we would be harvesting Saturday. I wanted to take my last pictures of the 2009 growing season.
Then Saturday rolled around and the rains began. All our volunteers showed up and were sent home. Here are Karla and Nichole right before they depart.
It rained all day, bringing a lovely, wet, peaceful feeling to the day.
The grapes will be harvested. When? We still don't know. Tim and I will let you know as soon as we are able to celebrate the end of the 2009 harvest.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bubble, bubble . . .

For me there are a couple of favorite things during harvest. Whacking my shins against equipment is not at the top of the list of items, but these two photos capture one of them. Somewhere around day 2-5 of the primary ferment, the multiplication of the yeast cells really takes off and those little critters voraciously eat up the grape sugar - an activity that eventually leads to their fatal encounter with ever increasing amounts of ethanol. The yeasties are really happy during this exponential growth period and punching down the "cap" (the mass of skins, intact grapes and some seeds that congeal and float to the top) results in a huge mass of purple foam. As the foam bubbles burst the most incredible smell of young wine and fresh grapes emerges. This is day three of the 2009 Estate Tempranillo. Intoxicating!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Mother Nature is a harsh mistress. With grand plans, eager and generous volunteers converging on the vineyard, equipment cleaned and ready to go, Joan and I fretted over the rain. She smelled the rain throughout the night. I just slept. At 5:30am I tried to persuade her that the break in the storm meant we could go ahead with harvest. She was more realistic. No Cabernet Sauvignon yet. Hopefully the weather will turn dry as will the soil and the fruit and we can get in our maiden C.S. harvest later this week. There's much to wine grape farming and life over which one has no control. Thanks to Therese, Sage, Heidi, Dave, Karla and Nichole.