Zinfandel harvest

September 27, 2007

Aw shit, I wish you could have seen the stars this morning at 5:30, the sky clear and black. I wish you could have seen the big yellow moon, full and setting as the sun started to peak, sinking below the coastal mountains. We were picking zinfandel, just a couple of blocks, maybe 2 tons. We started at 6:30 and were done by 8:10.

Afterwards and elsewhere, up in those mountains the moon disappeared into, we had some fruit to drop. Parts weren’t thinned well, and it was overcropped. The shoulders of the syrah weren’t fully trimmed, and as they mature differently, and too much crop means a delayed and lessened ripening of the grapes, it was important to bring a crew through. Elsewhere, maybe becaase we use only gentle, organic milder control methods, or maybe because the areas are just a bit more humid and cool, mildew had spread to the peduncle of the grapes, a grey furry growth that smells of white pepper and inhibits ripening by choking the flow of sap.

And also, well, if you have to know, when the moon is full and when the moon is on its elliptical orbit closer to the earth, there’s a greater humidity in the air. Also, it was a lot cooler there last week. Also, talking to the guys who’ve been around for a while, the sections of mildew growth always have mildew problems around now. So, whatever the cause, we walked through the problem areas dropping fruit.

It’s sad to see fruit not yet ripe but black and juicy looking, lying like a dead person on the ground. It’s a hard thing to do after spending the morning energetically putting as many grapes into bins and counting the money you’re making. Instead, we had to shift to counting the money we’d be losing. It makes you kind of queasy, you know?

And then, well, it was hot out, and i was tired. The sun was hot this afternoon. Maybe low 90s.  And then it was the end of the day. I went home and cleaned.


2 Responses to “Zinfandel harvest”

  1. cali girl Says:

    the moon sounds great. was there some Biodynamic aspects to be attended to while this harvest moon is in full effect?
    Also, i’m interested in the flavor of the grapes…can you describe?

  2. winefarmer Says:

    Well, not really. I mean, nothing more than I’d been doing. But it’s interesting, you might have read another post of mine about dropping fruit where mildew is growing. Biodynamic adherents believe that as the moon becomes more full, there’s an increased humidity and growth of fungal diseases. As we have little tiny outbreaks of botyritis and mildew (nothing big or bad, easy to deal with)- during a time that the moon is waxing- is it the lunar influence behind it all?

    As for the flavor of the grapes- that’s a tough question 36 hours later. On the tongue-ripe red fruits like plums; jammy, like you know, grape jelly; kind of a bursting tartness to it that balances with the sweetness. Grapes are the fruit that get the sweetest you know, and a ripe zinfandel berry is sweeter than most grapes. It’s the skins that have the flavor, and once you suck the pulp off the skin, without biting into the seeds, you chew the skin a bit to see how tannic it might be. In this case, it was pretty good and developed.

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