Journey: Thoughts and Reflections along the path. 

Sheldon Haynie
 
February 26, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Busy Weekend

It's been a busy weekend, 13 hrs of pruning, getting more of the Cab Franc ready for bud break. That leaves about 4 acres left of the 13 to prune, and we'll hire that out to get it done before March 1st as there's just not enough time to get it done myself. 

We're going to start building another small vineyard in Late March, and have some upgrading and expansion in two of the smaller ones. Budbreak should be in mid to late March, depending on the weather yet to come, with the fruit trees already in bloom, it could be early. 

Sheldon Haynie
 
February 22, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

New Tools

We have expanded our vineyard management significantly this year, our business model of sharecropping seems to resonate with property owners. We do the work for their fruit, they get some wine when its done and everybody wins. Starting last year with two vineyards and about 2 acres, we are up to 5 vineyards and nearly 15 now. Rapid growth means we need to expand our tools to be able to cover the ground fast enough. 

We just took delivery of a Kubota RTV 900XT, a utilty terrain vehicle

to augment our trusty Kubota BX2660 (likely the smallest vineyard tractor in the Valley) 

We'll use the RTV for inspecting irrigation, and transporting supplies, as well as light tasks such as weed spraying and taking visitors & grandkids on tours. During harvest, the rear cargo bed will hold a pick bin, letting us keep up with the crew in the rows,  and is just the right height to transfer to our pickup. 

To better support new vineyard installation and trellis upgrading, we're adding a hydraulic auger, for installing wooden end posts and planting vines, 

 

and Pneumatic post pounder for line stakes and steel end posts in organic vineyards. 

 

Sheldon Haynie
 
February 12, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Science and Art

Winemaking is a combination of science and art, some of the chemistry is well understood, and can be reduced to practice. A certain brix converts to a certain alcohol, sufficient sulfites will suppress volatile acidity and fining agents will agglomerate the fine suspended particulates and precipiate them to the bottom.

But what about the taste?  A gas chromatograph can tell you a lot of the constituents, but not how they taste. For that, the winemaker needs to continually sample, assess, and compare the new wines to make decisions for blending, racking and eventually bottling. 

Sheldon Haynie
 
February 7, 2012 | Sheldon Haynie

Low Impact winemaking

We are getting ready to bottle our new releases, selecting appropriate bottles, ordering corks, lablels and foils. This year we are choosing to use lighter bottles, to reduce the amount of glass and the energy to make, transport and recycle it. While the lighter bottles don't have the gravitas and presence of the heavier, we think our wines are good enough to stand by themselves. 

We are also enjoying the wind turbine, which is cutting our power bill and offsettiing the needs for cooling, lighting and pumps. We plan to add solar when we re-model our workshop to expand the winery later this year. 

To further reduce our footprint, we are buying a Kubota RTV900, a diesel UTV to augment our faithful BX2660 tractor. The UTV will give us the means to move 2 people and up to a 1000lbs of cargo around at up to 25 mph for inspection, maintenance and harvest. As we are farming more acreage this year, we need to be able to cover our ground faster, and having the right tools goes a long ways.