Wine Talk

Snooth User: William Djubin

2014 Santa Lucia California Pinot close CALL.

Posted by William Djubin, Sep 28, 2014.

Whew,,, Peter and Adam Just dodged a major bullet and Now I am wanting to reserve the 2014 Cargassaci and Keefer Pinot Noirs from Siduri..

Just as the final grapes were harvested by Peter Cargassaci for Siduri Wines it started to pour Rain...  The story will be told, just as I taught a Wine Class 2 days prior regarding Pinot Noir/ Burgundy.

Exactly as I explained Burgundy and it's fragile skin..

 

1 2 next

Replies

108
333
Reply by William Djubin, Sep 28, 2014.

The Flat Bed truck containing the Fabled wine 2014

-Again.. I do not work for Burgundy or California Wines  & this is not an Ad endorsement of any kind. * However I do enjoy these wines and/or selling or sharing these wines

Thanks for reading.

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 28, 2014.

Adam posted that on facebook on Wednesday morning. Keefer Ranch is in the RRV not SLH. The rain didn't start until 7pm and we only got  1/4". Thursday was sunny and breezy which was ideal given the overnight rain. Most all the Pinot in the area had been picked already. He was letting it hang as long as he could before the rain but those who did not pick didn't suffer as there really wasn't enough to affect the fruit. Friday afternoon had some passing T-Storms that drenched the areas they passed over but they were extremely isolated. The soil was already dry to the touch on the surface yesterday afternoon. Saw a bunch of chard being brought into Sonoma Cutrer yesterday. Each truck had at least 60 bins on it, so 30T per.

Over in St Helena they picked Pellet Ranch Cab yesterday morning. Cabernet being fairly immune to rain due to the loose clusters. I would imagine most everyone will have their fruit in by weeks end though weather looks clear and warm with highs in the 90s by Thursday. The only thing left will be those in search of extreme ripeness and/or botrytis.

108
333
Reply by William Djubin, Sep 29, 2014.

Thanks OUTTHERE, thanks for bringing the crop report for RRV and SLC 2014

Question? -- Is the 2014 California Burgundy varietal worthy??,  your version of 2014 is negative.

BTW (poss Moderator) -I was only celebrating the challenges and victories we need to celebrate on the Front-line. Relax.

 

108
333
Reply by William Djubin, Sep 29, 2014.

-And I mean; honestly mean Zero disrespect. towards Outthere.! 

 **as he explained the frontier visionaries of the wine industry and their methods in my Class. Thanks OT for clarifying.

108
333
Reply by William Djubin, Sep 29, 2014.

Again " Peter and Adam dodged a bullet. The beginning of this pos

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 29, 2014.

They don't come much more relaxed than me William. Don't fret. Just keeping it all into perspective as the Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands are about 300 miles apart.

1165
152
Reply by EMark, Sep 29, 2014.

If I may, I would like to ask some questions about rain during the harvest. My purpose here, is to truly understand the issues, and learn.  The following is what I know and what I suspect. Please come in here and confirm or correct me on anything.

Somebody once told me that the biggest problem with rain during the harvest is the mud with which workers and equipment have to deal.  The mud would seem like an issue to me.  Is it?  If so, is it really the biggest issue.

For argument sake, assume a heavy rain falls immediately prior to harvest.  In OT's discussion above he mentions that Cabernet Sauvignon grape clusters are "loose," and, as such, are less affected by the rain.  I think what he is saying is that there is more air circulating around individual grapes.  This allows rain water that falls on these grapes to evaporate relatively quickly.  As a result the possibility of infection from fungus (anything else?) is reduced.  Presumably, there are other grape varieties whose clusters are "tighter"--i.e., the berries are closer together, there is less air flow between them and water that falls on them does not evaporate as quickly.  Such clusters are more subject to fungal infection.  How much truth do I have in this paragraph?

Let's continue with the scenario in which there is a heavy rain immediately prior to harvest.  Am I correct in assuming that additional water will be pulled from the ground and end up in the grape berries?  If so, since I have heard reference to "thin-skinned" grape varieties, is there a risk that the skins of these grapes may split?  Also if additional water is being stored in the grapes, I would guess that various ratios--e.g., sugar and acid--would be affected.  Is that correct?  If so, what does that mean for the winemaker?  Does he try to delay harvest?  Does he adjust his winemaking? 

Are there any other issues regarding rain duing harvest?

 

20
3259
Reply by dmcker, Sep 29, 2014.

Mud in the vineyards, transportation delays elsewhere because of the rain, (in some cases) more mechanically difficult harvests, etc. can cause headaches. But those aren't the main concern for most growers and winemakers.

The two major categories of concern are rotting and splitting (contributory factors include both cluster tightness and skin thickness), and water intake. Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and others rot easily. Pinot Noir is also sensitive to moisture in multiple ways (see below). Cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, and to a slightly lesser extent merlot and malbec, are considered fairly indestructible. (Interesting that the Bordeaux varieties have evolved/been shaped to deal with the dampness of their home environment better than the Burgundy grapes have, which obviously contributes to their greater worldwide spread.)

Water intake isn't just through the root system since root uptake isn't even the main means of water intrusion. Diffusion across the berry skin is one major pathway according to some, while uptake is through the berry stem receptacle, according to others, with transpiration occurring through the berry skin. Either way you're getting a lot of water into the berries that dilute their sugars and other content.

As you know in general, the more you irrigate grapes the more insipid the wine. In the nasty post-veraison rain scenario skies are doing that irrigation right before harvest, just when the viticulturalist has brought the grapes along to their best-planned-and-executed peak. If he or she has done their work well before harvest and kept the fruit clean and sound that will help, since any skin imperfections (whether caused by mildew, botrytis, bird pecks, moths, bees or whatever)  will only speed rot, splitting, etc. Lots of work to do through the year to make sure the fruit's in good shape at harvest, and if external factors like the weather aren't cooperative some good wine can still be made. If you want a concise, clear listing of most of the headaches (not just rain) that growers need to be concerned about, Mark, check out this 'vintage' Wine Spectator article.

Bottom line, even during a drought nobody wants that rain, at least until the grapes are in. Rain = lost tonnage to growers, and potentially worrisome quality issues to the winemakers.

 

Now for a 'for example' from the consumer's perspective! I'll let OT talk about Sonoma and Napa, but, for example, right now the Bordeaux I want to drink are mostly from the '90s. They were cheaper back then, and even if you're buying now they're far cheaper for what you get than the naughties, especially towards the end of that decade when Chinese plungers ruined things for the rest of us. Many of them are only entering their prime drinking windows now, IMHO.

Looking at the latter half of that decade since it's still relatively easy to find bottles from then, '96 was a great year. Cool summer keeping fruit from getting too ripe, no problems at harvest--if you see any from that year, grab 'em. '97 was a different story, with uneven flowering and summer rain--cab was OK, but merlot barely ripened. Know your winemaker before plopping down hardearned cash. '98 was better even with rain at harvest. Merlot was harvested before the rain and the cab had been roasted in August--rich wines that won't last as long as the '96s. '99 saw nasty harvest rains, so a truly problematic vintage that before the rains had looked potentially very good due to its hot weather.

Back in the first half of the decade, '90 was a great year (drought) but less disciplined wineries allowed overproduction. '91~'94 were all ravaged by rain at harvest and before. Shop carefully. '95 survived its rain better, thanks to a heatwave before it.

So with harvest rain being the single biggest contributory factor to a negative result, that decade saw two good vintages, three OK ones and five that were questionable at best. Rain, rain go away, come again some other day!

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 29, 2014.

D basically covered it and you picked it out yourself as well. The affect of rain is different with different varieties. Pinot clusters are tight and bunch rot sets in real quick. Cab not so much. We took in 3 tons of To Kalon clone 7 today  at the winery. They normally get 2 tons from the same block but the rain this year plumped up the berries and added to the tonnage. That along with larger clusters than usual. Tasted great and the juice was nice and dark. Through the entire 6 bins we had maybe 4 clusters that were raisined. Not a bit of rot.

 

Conversely I have done pinot harvests where you spend hours on the sorting table pulling rotten berries or clusters  infected with botrytis. Cab is pretty forgiving.

The last thing they are worrying about is the pickers getting muddy feet. It's about the fruit.

0
2388
Reply by GregT, Sep 30, 2014.

Emark - to add to what they said above, sometimes you get rain during harvest but if you have a few warm dry days immediately following, you can still save the harvest as long as you don't get fungal problems. Also, with some grapes, once stems lignify, water transport is reduced, so you don't get the splitting you otherwise might and your juice balance isn't always off. But as mentioned, a lot depends on the grape variety. Also on the rootstock and the time at which the winemaker decides to harvest.

I was in Tokaj last week and they'd had rain for days and days. But harvest there doesn't start for a while and they're all confident that the harvest can be saved because while I was there, the weather was terrific. Sunny and breezy, just right for drying things. Of course too much of that and they're kind of screwed because they WANT botrytis. But they really worry about too much water because they plant thin-skinned grapes that are particularly susceptible to botrytis, but because of that, they also split easily. 

One other thing to think about is that there isn't a linear correlation between sugar and acid and time. In other words, sometimes you can have grapes hanging for a little while w/out a lot of change in pH or sugar levels. However, lots of aroma compounds develop late and after the sugar levels are stable. So you can have a "ripe" grape based on acid and/or sugars, but that grape may not have the flavor and aromas it can still develop if you leave it on the vine for a bit. Kind of like the reason people sell "vine ripened" tomatoes - they taste and smell better than those ripened in the store.

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 30, 2014.

Vine ripened? Unless you are buying them at the Farmers Market you are fooling yourself.

0
2388
Reply by GregT, Sep 30, 2014.

Yep. That's what I was referring to - those things in the supermarket are a huge con. I forgot that the industry had stolen the name. Same with lots of other fruit. It's why you grow them yourself and hope the squirrels don't get them!

BTW, what are you doing with all those grapes? You making wine now? Cool!

1165
152
Reply by EMark, Sep 30, 2014.

Thank you to everybody for the comments.  I really find this interesting.  

It sounds like rain at harvest time increases risk for growers and winemakers.  The risk is that the damage can be put on a spectrum from "none" to "complete loss."  Factors involve such obvious things as 

  • Type of grape grown
  • Amount of rain
  • TIming of the rain
  • Geographic "luck" -- e.g., it rained hard here, and hardly rained at all over there.

Naturally, all the great information, above, generated more questions or, maybe, more clarity.

My comments about the mud that workers and machinery had to accommodate during harvest were not a comment on growers' humanity.  I was wondering about economic affect.  It seems to me that having to deal with adverse conditions would cause a decline in productivity.  E.g., a harvest that would normally take 8 hours in ideal conditions might take 10 hours in more adverse conditions.  Productivity, can usually be directly translated into dollars.  It seems to me that decreasing productivity by 25% (and my example may or may not be realistic) will result in a dollar cost to somebody.  If a grower engages a contractor to harvest, I imagine that he pays a flat fee (another assumption).  If so, then he is insulated from this cost of lost productivity.  Does the contractor pay the workers by the hour or is it a flat rate?  If it is by the hour, then the lost of productivity has cost him.  If it is a flat rate, then the workers have two hours of unpaid labor.   This may be a nit.  I don't know.

Let me spend some time, now, on the increase in water content after a rain that hits just prior to harvest.  OT, reported the example of 3 tons of CS grapes being harvested when the normal is 2 tons.  Firstof all I suspect that the additional 50% of tonnage cannot be entirely attributed to water.  However, he seemed to be of the opinion that some of the additional tonnage could be so attributed.

I mentioned sugar and acid, above, because I am somewaht aware that sugar content and acid content seem to be a part of harvesting decisions.  You hear nomenclatures such as Brix, and pH and Total Acidity.  If additional water is added to the berries, I agree that the total amount of sugar does not change, and the total acid content does not change.  However, when those grapes are crushed there is going to be more water in the fermenter that might have originally been reckoned had the grapes been picked one day earlier.  Is the amount of this additional water insignificant, or does the winemaker apply some technique to reduce this additional water?

Let me talk about the bunches of raisins that you found, OT.  Would I be correct in assuming that these bunches were not particularly abnormal?  I can see how a bunch may have bloomed and matured earlier than most of the others.  So, being farther along in the process, they just lost water content and dried out.  I would assume that other bunches bloomed and developed later than the majority.  Their fruit was unripe, and they were out-sorted also.  Am I close, here?

 

 

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 30, 2014.

Pickers are paid by the bin not by the hour. A little harvest time rain isn't going to make for treacherous conditions in the rows. Wine makers are constantly watching the weather and fruit ripeness. When the two agree they call a pick. If they are concerned about rain having an adverse affect on the fruit they will call the pick early. YMMV though.

20
3259
Reply by dmcker, Sep 30, 2014.

Historically, agricultural pickers of any product are paid by volume (boxes of lemons and avocados, bags of walnuts, boxes of greenbeans and artichokes, etc., etc., etc.) rather than an hourly. Different, of course, for people back processing at the plant (winery). And I'm not talking about different areas of agriculture like combine harvesting of wheat or soybeans.

If you've spent any time with any crop growing and harvesting you'll know, Mark, the focus on quality and timing. Too late for truck farming crops and you can lose the crop. Too late into rain for grapes and you can lose (at least the quality of) the vintage. That timing and focus on where in the ripening curve the crop is is primary. Years and years of experience have led to ways to limit risk in various areas, such as even the simple things like by volume vs by time payment for harvesters.

One thing we haven't talked much about (though I alluded to it in my post above) is how the growers and their labor patrol the vineyard in the weeks and months before harvest and deal with issues they encounter. One thing done by certain growers is culling bunches to keep tonnage/acre down (note my reference to problems with the 1990 Bordeaux harvest). Other things they look for include pest damage and irregular ripening. Another is the number of bunches per plant based on how 'vigorous' that particular vine is. Etc., etc. To put it simply, any big, watery grapes that are there at harvest will generally produce poor color and a thin taste. Small and unripened grapes on the other hand make for an acidic wine. In general, berries need to be small, at their peak in ripeness, and full of flavor. Getting to that point right at harvest takes lots of vineyard work and knowhow.

BTW, many European vineyards have their pickers take multiple passes through the vineyard at harvest only picking those bunches that are currently optimal, so harvest can continue for several days or even longer. Would be good to hear from OT how frequently that is the case north of the Bay.

Would also be useful to hear from OT about how overproduction is viewed and managed in Napa-Sonoma, especially since he referred to a 50% increase at the yet-unnamed winery in vineyard production this year. 3 tons/acre is nothing like over in the Central Valley (would be interesting to see all Gallo's figures), or even at many other places producing 'fine' wines, but it is apparently a lot more than usual for that winery. The people I was working briefly with in the Pinnacles back 30+ years ago aimed for 2 tons/acre. Everyone has their magic number, so I'm looking forward to OT's response.

And with additional water sucked into the berries, yes the percentage of sugar and acid in the juice will decrease, Mark. I'm curious what you're imagining about how that 'water' might be reduced?  ;-)

 

As I'm sitting here imagining how a vintner might deal with watery grapes, I have a totally different question for you, OT. Does anyone make marc in Sonoma?

 

0
2388
Reply by GregT, Sep 30, 2014.

Emark - one thing to remember is that as I mentioned before, once lignification of the stems sets in, there's less water movement. In fact, it's not clear that the water from rain enters ripe grapes through the roots at all, although some dispute that. In Pomerol they sometimes lay sheets of plastic on the ground to prevent water from seeping into the soil if they are going to have a rainy harvest. However, there's more evidence to suggest that the water gets in through the skins. That's one possible reason why grapes with thick skins tend to do better - Cab Sauvignon and Petit Verdot for example, as opposed to Pinot Noir. In addition, the physical act of striking the skin may be responsible for some of the splitting.

To prevent that, the analog of plastic sheeting on the ground would be umbrellas or canopies on the grapes, which some growers have also tried. Or leaving leaves that can shelter bunches. That's another problem though, because in areas where you're likely to get rain, like on the Atlantic coasts of the US and Europe, you really want sunshine on the grapes and if the leaves protect them from rain, they also shield them from the sun.

As far as I understand, and that's not too far, the main issue with water directly at harvest time isn't so much that it gets into the grapes so much as it gets on to the grapes. Moisture on the fruit or splitting of the skins, whether by water or birds or bees or insects can lead to rot and fungus. Rain in the weeks before harvest can be mitigated by very dry weather following and if you want more wind, you can do like Mondavi and fly helicopters back and forth over the grapes.

No clue what OT's 50% increase is due to, but rain while grapes are growing and ripening might affect brix, pH, etc., but I'm not sure rain in the day prior will affect it so much.

And left to their own devices, grape vines will produce different amounts of fruit each year anyway, which is why it's pretty random to focus on ton/hectare.

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 30, 2014.

In Sonoma, as well as in Napa, they drop fruit during the course of the growing year to control crop size and quality. The pictured fruit above came from Beckstoffer To Kalon so you know it was farmed impeccably. 

Flavor was there so it wasn't watered down at all. This particular winemaker likes to let fruit hang a bit longer so the result of the rain could be brix pushed down a degree or so. Not sure on the acid as I did not see the pre-pick numbers. Some winemakers are real geeky about the fruit being perfect at picking while others work with what comes in the door and make the best wine they can from there. It's not uncommon to field test fruit, see that it's ready to pick only to find a crew cannot be put together for a couple days. Your hands ate tied so you work with what comes in the door.

"Does anyone make marc in Sonoma?"

Like Grappa without the stems? Hell I don't know. The biodynamic guys put it back into the soil. Most I know put it in a 20yard dumpster and the disposal company takes it for composting.

20
3259
Reply by dmcker, Sep 30, 2014.

In New Zealand they use awnings over the grapes in several vineyards. Interesting to see.

Greg, see my post above about rainwater sucked directly into the berries as opposed to up from the roots. My understanding is that the biggest issue is water absorbed into the berries. Water on the berries is a lot easier to deal with. Either way, split berries are not good.

 

For reference, here's part of a vintner's (Frank Cornellisen) blog on his issues over in Sicily with his 2010 harvest :

"2010 was dominated by a lot of rain since the beginning of the season; a lot of vegetation resulted in vines with more vigor than usual, needing more canopy management, especially the vineyards in the lower quotes. The high vineyards did very well in terms of extra water overall during the year and this was a blessing for the vines. The summer was dry as usual and the ripening this year was accelerated over this period. Autumn was epic in terms of excessive humidity. Most of all we lacked the classic winds this year that keep the air dry; nights and mornings were dominated by humidity and the extra rain showers weren’t a help.


"We have lost quite a bit of white grapes this year as at a given moment I decided to go for botrytis which in the end hardly didn’t develop and so we cut down lots of grapes due to the grey mould developing. It was either this or picking unripe watery grapes… difficult decisions especially when looking at all the grapes on the ground…

"The difficulty in keeping grapes healthy was great and monitoring and cleaning to push to ripeness was extremely demanding this year with long days in the vineyards and even longer nights in the cellar. The new cellar with more space to work in an ordered and cleanly way came at the right moment and was a blessing in these difficult conditions."

 

OT, nice to see I could force a three-paragraph response out of you!  Although you didn't answer about staggered harvesting of the same vineyard.   ;-)

41
1468
Reply by outthere, Sep 30, 2014.

Yeah, they do that often. Some blocks ripen faster than others due to soil and exposure differendes.

20
3259
Reply by dmcker, Oct 1, 2014.

"Like Grappa without the stems?"

Not sure if that's consistent. Marc de Bourgogne (or from anywhere else in France) can be made differently depending on who's making it. I view it pretty much the same as grappa, at least that grappa that's made from grapes, and so flavor differences between grappa and marc depend most greatly on the grapes employed. In both cases they use the pomace, whether the winemaker destemmed or not. I imagine even after used for distilling, there'll be something left that the biodynamic folk (or even bio-gas people) can use...

So who's making good grappa/marc (whatever they're calling it) in Sonoma?

1 2 next



Continue to the end of the thread to reply
Back to Categories

Popular Topics

  • posts

Top Contributors This Month

259386 Snooth User: zufrieden
259386zufrieden
19 posts
1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
1413489dvogler
18 posts
357808 Snooth User: vin0vin0
357808vin0vin0
8 posts

Categories

View All




Snooth Media Network