A cold front

September 19, 2007

A cold front moved into the Bay area, and the pre-dawn mornings are chilly again. Tomorrow will be a rush of picking, maybe 20 tons for me and my crew, and it will be hard sticky work with a lot of yelling and laughing. It’s a steep, rocky, mountain vineyard I’ll be picking. To me, picking is exciting for about 2 minutes, and after that, ugh, it’s a lot of the same. Work. Lifting sticky, heavy things. Dust, sweat, and tired jokes told in Spanish.

There’s a lot of talk of rain. Rain is bad.

Today I sprayed a bit of biodynamic horn silica on a shadier, less-producing block of a vineyard I’m converting to demeter-certified biodynamics (biodynamism?). It’s powdered quartz, stored underground in cows horns from the spring to the fall equinox and then unearthed to mix with water and mist on the leaves. It’s supposed to increase photosensitivity. It’s supposed to increase to complexity of the flavors in grapes. The tiny quartz crystals act like tiny prisms. Quartz releases piezoelectricity. It’s supposed to be dangerous, and maybe of all the biodynamic preparations the only one that can produce a demonstrable effect in the wine. Seriously-it’s been proved by science in the pages of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture to increase the complexity of flavors in wine. Too much can burn off all the leaves, and since it’s cold and cloudy in the mornings, it’s a good time for it.

So, in-between sampling delicious cabernet grapes I sprayed a block with a little home-brewed magic powder. Then I ran the lab analysis on those and a bunch of other samples. I had a couple of meetings, made sure I had all the equipment I’d need for work tomorrow, and whaddya know? It’s the end of the day and I’ve been working since before dawn without a break.

Now I’m drinking a beer, starting a blog, planning out a life.

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One Response to “A cold front”

  1. ryan Says:

    one of the best first blog posts I’ve read in awhile. Glad you offered to write for us.


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