2021, what are your plans?

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heatherd

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Dang! I just got bad news, and seeking input from the collective.

Our vintner's association had a group buy organized for Wash. State Merlot grapes. We just got word that the broker (Kendall) cannot fill our order due to a poor harvest. :( I am very disappointed.

However, the neighboring club (1.5 hours away) is allowing us to piggyback on their order (if we fill a pallet), but it is only pails. I feel ambivalent about this. Here are the available reds:

California---Red Juices, $46 per pail
Alicante, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet/Merlot (50/50), Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, White Zinfandel

Italy---Red Juices, $ 51 per pail
Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella


In addition to the above, I am on course to get a batch of Sauv Blanc and a batch of Riesling, both from Washington.

Any faves from the hive?
You could skip that and go with frozen and shipped Brehm must or something similar.
 

CDrew

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All done with the primary for the below except the Mourvedre. My wife and I picked all of the grapes ourselves.


5 gallons-ish Mourvedre (Brentwood, Contra Costa County)


The plan is to do the same with the Syrah and Mourvedre, but it depends on how the Mourvedre primary finishes. It's not looking great
@Denden5136 -I have to ask if you got this Mourvedre from Michael at calwinebroker.com? He's the home wine broker guy in Brentwood which is why I ask.

I'm asking because I got Mourvedre through him in 2019 and it was a struggle all the way through. I thought I had done everything right but it was terrible when done and I poured out 10 gallons and bottled 10 gallons fermented with a different yeast that was not great but acceptable. Anyway, I think there is a problem with those grapes. The color was wrong, the fermentation didn't smell right, some un-identifiable factor is at work. I'd be curious to hear your story.

Not to bash calwinebroker but those Mourvedre grapes are not something I'll use again. I did make a Petite Sirah that I got through him that is very good.
 

franc1969

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Dang! I just got bad news, and seeking input from the collective.

Our vintner's association had a group buy organized for Wash. State Merlot grapes. We just got word that the broker (Kendall) cannot fill our order due to a poor harvest. :( I am very disappointed.

However, the neighboring club (1.5 hours away) is allowing us to piggyback on their order (if we fill a pallet), but it is only pails. I feel ambivalent about this. Here are the available reds:

California---Red Juices, $46 per pail
Alicante, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet/Merlot (50/50), Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, White Zinfandel

Italy---Red Juices, $ 51 per pail
Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella


In addition to the above, I am on course to get a batch of Sauv Blanc and a batch of Riesling, both from Washington.

Any faves from the hive?
I would do all the Italian juice , personally. That is an excellent price, I think I haven't found less than $65. I would do it this year but don’t really have time to drive on the specified weekend.
 

sour_grapes

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You could skip that and go with frozen and shipped Brehm must or something similar.
Yes, I just did that this spring! 3 buckets of must: Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, & Merlot, field-blended. I was looking forward to "real" fall grapes! :)
 

Khristyjeff

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Dang! I just got bad news, and seeking input from the collective.

Our vintner's association had a group buy organized for Wash. State Merlot grapes. We just got word that the broker (Kendall) cannot fill our order due to a poor harvest. :( I am very disappointed.

However, the neighboring club (1.5 hours away) is allowing us to piggyback on their order (if we fill a pallet), but it is only pails. I feel ambivalent about this. Here are the available reds:

California---Red Juices, $46 per pail
Alicante, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet/Merlot (50/50), Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, White Zinfandel

Italy---Red Juices, $ 51 per pail
Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella


In addition to the above, I am on course to get a batch of Sauv Blanc and a batch of Riesling, both from Washington.

Any faves from the hive?
If you decided to take the club up on their offer, I would be willing to try a pail or two of the Italian ones. Milwaukee isn't a bad drive for us, plus I've never made wine from a pail of juice yet.
 

winemaker81

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Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella
If it were me, I'd go with something I hadn't made before. Most of these buckets are blends so you're using someone else's choice, but that should be ok. If I was choosing 3, I'd try the Barolo, Brunello, and Chianti.

Posted 02/22/2021: My current plan is to purchase 15 or 16 lugs of Rhone grapes from west coast USA. I'm doing a blend, but currently have no preconceived notions regarding what that blend will be.
Looking back, it's interesting (to me anyway) how my plans morphed in the last 6 months. In February I was strongly considering a single batch, a Syrah based Rhone blend. The blending grapes would probably include Mourvedre and Petite Sirah; in the past 2 years these were the only Rhone grapes available to me. This plan went through a few minor revisions, but didn't change all that much.

Then this summer's weird season hit, and completely changed my plans. Still making a Rhone blend, but it's Grenache based, and making a second batch, a non-standard blend of Italian grapes. I'm ok with completely revamping plans at the last minute -- it's a win for me regardless of what I make.
 

distancerunner

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I leaned that early communication with suppliers is key. Listen to their harvest report.watch the weather in California and read harvest reports on line. And get the order in early.

Most importantly, have a plan. And a back up plan. Maybe a third plan, just in case.
 

Denden5136

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@Denden5136 -I have to ask if you got this Mourvedre from Michael at calwinebroker.com? He's the home wine broker guy in Brentwood which is why I ask.

I'm asking because I got Mourvedre through him in 2019 and it was a struggle all the way through. I thought I had done everything right but it was terrible when done and I poured out 10 gallons and bottled 10 gallons fermented with a different yeast that was not great but acceptable. Anyway, I think there is a problem with those grapes. The color was wrong, the fermentation didn't smell right, some un-identifiable factor is at work. I'd be curious to hear your story.

Not to bash calwinebroker but those Mourvedre grapes are not something I'll use again. I did make a Petite Sirah that I got through him that is very good.
Hi CDrew,

Yes I did. I have had very good luck with calwinebroker over the past couple years, but this was really disappointing. There were guys out there picking 500 lbs. I'm sure they're struggling with the same issue. The must has gone from green (really!) to brown to now a shade of pink. I do not have a valve in my fermentation vat to do a proper delastage, so am thinking of pulling off the cap, removing seeds and putting the cap back. My biggest concern is the green seeds. What you describe is what I am dealing with now! I am looking at it as an experiment at this point, but don't have high hopes.
 

CDrew

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Hi CDrew,

Yes I did. I have had very good luck with calwinebroker over the past couple years, but this was really disappointing. There were guys out there picking 500 lbs. I'm sure they're struggling with the same issue. The must has gone from green (really!) to brown to now a shade of pink. I do not have a valve in my fermentation vat to do a proper delastage, so am thinking of pulling off the cap, removing seeds and putting the cap back. My biggest concern is the green seeds. What you describe is what I am dealing with now! I am looking at it as an experiment at this point, but don't have high hopes.
Interesting. These grapes were never right for me. From the very start the color was way off, almost a brown tinge. The smell was off, and even my wife said "what's wrong" when she did a punch down for me. It's the only wine I've ever poured out right after fermentation. I have a 2018 thread that describes this. Interesting you used the same source. Thanks for the reply.
 

NorCal

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My plan, all from grapes.

15-20 gallons Chardonnay
10 gallons of Rose, saignee from the reds
60 gallons of Mourvedre blend (GSM-ish) barrel.

Your Plans?
Always fun to look back at your plans and see what you actually did.

PLAN
15-20 gallons Chardonnay--------------------------NOPE
10 gallons of Rose, saignee from the reds---------NOPE
60 gallons of Mourvedre blend (GSM-ish) barrel--KIND OF
---
90 gallons

ACTUAL
10 gallons of estate blend (Syrah, Cab Sauv, Zin)
20 gallons of Cab Franc
45 gallons (estimate) of Mourvedre
60 gallons (estimate) of Petite Syrah
---
125 gallons

What changed? I decided I could skip a year of whites to deplete my inventory from the prior two years. I wasn't able to get the Mourvedre saignee juice during crush, thus no Rose. I wasn't able to locate Grenache, which kind of killed the GSM. We purchased a property with grape vines (small yield). I was given the Cab Franc for free, Mourvedre came in light and I had the opportunity to pick up some nice Petite Sirah this year, which I have only made for blending purposes in the past, so wanted to give it a try.

How about your plans vs. actual?
 

mainshipfred

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Always fun to look back at your plans and see what you actually did.

PLAN
15-20 gallons Chardonnay--------------------------NOPE
10 gallons of Rose, saignee from the reds---------NOPE
60 gallons of Mourvedre blend (GSM-ish) barrel--KIND OF
---
90 gallons

ACTUAL
10 gallons of estate blend (Syrah, Cab Sauv, Zin)
20 gallons of Cab Franc
45 gallons (estimate) of Mourvedre
60 gallons (estimate) of Petite Syrah
---
125 gallons

What changed? I decided I could skip a year of whites to deplete my inventory from the prior two years. I wasn't able to get the Mourvedre saignee juice during crush, thus no Rose. I wasn't able to locate Grenache, which kind of killed the GSM. We purchased a property with grape vines (small yield). I was given the Cab Franc for free, Mourvedre came in light and I had the opportunity to pick up some nice Petite Sirah this year, which I have only made for blending purposes in the past, so wanted to give it a try.

How about your plans vs. actual?
Oh! brother could I go on! :D Since you just got a nice new vineyard I'll give you a break but have to say I've learned to take your initial plans with a grain of salt. I think I remember wagering against you and won, thanks for that.

Even thought I was a little wishy washy on a few varietals I think I'm still pretty much on track. Did make a peach I wasn't expecting and the Tannat is up in the air right now. It appears the cicada's ate a lot of the leaves and they're not sure about the quality. I'm looking for another source because it my latest favorite varietal. Around here Tannat is gold and no one want to give it up. One of the wineries is trying something new. They are waiting to harvest the Viognier just before it starts to rot. Might have to water it back but thought I'd try something new. They are keeping a close eye on them. The Petit Manseng is a little iffy also for some reason. Other than that Norton, PV, Touriga, Tempranallo and Malbec are still on track.
 

CDrew

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1-An August harvest of Sauvignon Blanc. I'll be in Alaska Aug 31-Sept 11 so the wife might have to tend it. Which is fair because she'll drink 95% of it.

So no, this did not happen. I was away during harvest. Caught some nice fish tho.

2-Primitivo-500 pounds or so. 300 for a normal dry wine and 200 for a Rose-5th year so I'll have a vertical to try

I’ll take 1/2 credit here. Primitivo yield was light, I got 300 pounds. It’s fermenting now all as a red wine. Had to water back to get the brix from 27 to 25.

3-Syrah- 300-400 pounds 4th year

So this happened due to the kindness of others. I flew into Sac at midnight and the car would not start. Uber home, drive back out, get car started, home at 4am. Too tired to go pick at 6am. Buddy and his wife offered to pick mine which they did. It’s finishing up now and looks perfect. 25 gallons post press.

4- Something new. Last year I got surprise Barbera at the end. I'd do that again.

Not yet. Amending plans. Would like a pick of foothill grapes for Rose. Time is pretty tight though. But the Rose has been such a hit, I feel that needs to happen again.

5- 4 pails of Reisling (or Sauvignon blanc) from Wine grapes direct for a later fall fermentation-complete with road trip to go get it

I will make this happen for sure. sauvignon Blanc was great last year.

6-A small late cider. Maybe 5 gallons. One of my friends did a cider from local apples this year that was quite good.

Too early to tell. Apple harvest in a few weeks.
 

Gilmango

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Hi CDrew,

Yes I did. I have had very good luck with calwinebroker over the past couple years, but this was really disappointing. There were guys out there picking 500 lbs. I'm sure they're struggling with the same issue. The must has gone from green (really!) to brown to now a shade of pink. I do not have a valve in my fermentation vat to do a proper delastage, so am thinking of pulling off the cap, removing seeds and putting the cap back. My biggest concern is the green seeds. What you describe is what I am dealing with now! I am looking at it as an experiment at this point, but don't have high hopes.
Sounds like we were at the same pick last Saturday (9/18) in Brentwood with calwinebroker. It was my very first time picking wine grapes, and I also went for the Mourvedre. As a first timer I did not know anything was off / is off in terms of juice color, seed color, etc. Going to get it into secondary tomorrow and hope for the best. If you have any advice as far as what you have done or are doing (in terms of any acid or sugar or water additions, etc.) I'd welcome it. Sounds like I did not get too lucky in terms of picking the right grape varietal and vineyard for my first pick, but still want to do the best I can with my limited experience and equipment. (Been making wine kits this past year, and brewing beer for decades). Thanks - Gilman
 

sour_grapes

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Dang! I just got bad news, and seeking input from the collective.

Our vintner's association had a group buy organized for Wash. State Merlot grapes. We just got word that the broker (Kendall) cannot fill our order due to a poor harvest. :( I am very disappointed.

However, the neighboring club (1.5 hours away) is allowing us to piggyback on their order (if we fill a pallet), but it is only pails. I feel ambivalent about this. Here are the available reds:

California---Red Juices, $46 per pail
Alicante, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet/Merlot (50/50), Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, White Zinfandel

Italy---Red Juices, $ 51 per pail
Amarone, Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Valpolicella


In addition to the above, I am on course to get a batch of Sauv Blanc and a batch of Riesling, both from Washington.

Any faves from the hive?
So, I opted to ask for an Amarone and a Nebbiolo bucket.

BUT THEN, we got notification that the broker was, after all, able to supply our Washington Merlot grapes. And our group managed to gracefully withdraw our orders from the neighboring club, with no hard feelings.

So, bottom line, I am back to Merlot grapes. :db
 

Denden5136

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Sounds like we were at the same pick last Saturday (9/18) in Brentwood with calwinebroker. It was my very first time picking wine grapes, and I also went for the Mourvedre. As a first timer I did not know anything was off / is off in terms of juice color, seed color, etc. Going to get it into secondary tomorrow and hope for the best. If you have any advice as far as what you have done or are doing (in terms of any acid or sugar or water additions, etc.) I'd welcome it. Sounds like I did not get too lucky in terms of picking the right grape varietal and vineyard for my first pick, but still want to do the best I can with my limited experience and equipment. (Been making wine kits this past year, and brewing beer for decades). Thanks - Gilman
HI there Gilmango,
How does the must look? did you get good color from the skins?
I was concerned with all the green seeds and skins so I pressed early (and soft) and am hoping to make a lighter wine. My initial readings are actually not in a bad range - 7.1 TA and 3.8 pH. I'd prefer a lower pH, but it is acceptable. Depending on how it turns out, I might blend with the Syrah I picked in Lodi a week before the Mourvedre.
Let me know how yours progresses. What was the initial brix? Maybe we can compare our finished products in a year.
 

Gilmango

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HI there Gilmango,
How does the must look? did you get good color from the skins?
I was concerned with all the green seeds and skins so I pressed early (and soft) and am hoping to make a lighter wine. My initial readings are actually not in a bad range - 7.1 TA and 3.8 pH. I'd prefer a lower pH, but it is acceptable. Depending on how it turns out, I might blend with the Syrah I picked in Lodi a week before the Mourvedre.
Let me know how yours progresses. What was the initial brix? Maybe we can compare our finished products in a year.
Hey thanks for the quick reply and the info you shared. My brix seemed lower than I anticipated at 22 but I had a really hard time drawing a sample in my wine thief as it got consistently jammed up with pomace. So when I finally got my hydrometer floating I took the reading but maybe if I'd completely filled my test jar it might have registered slightly higher? What did you get?

Thanks for the TA and pH readings, I had no way to measure TA, and only had pH strips which seemed to read closer to 3.4-3.5. So far I did not add any water, acid, sugar, oak or tannin, just SO2, Go Ferm, BM4x4 and also RC-212 (2:1 ratio mixed yeast), and Fermaid K. Will add CH16 and Acti ML in secondary.

The juice in the must has definitely gotten redder (and many of the skins have gotten paler), it was not very red at first. Will gently press tomorrow if I cannot find time today. Feeling more hopeful that this will turn out at least OK. I learned that CDrew wound up dumping the Mourvedre he got from this same broker and very likely same farm a couple years ago, which got me really worried.
 

Nebbiolo020

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I’ve already got most of my grapes for this year but have 20 gallons of Sangiovese aging,
15 gallons of a field blend of Cabernet franc, Merlot,Malbec and a host of other varietals in really small quantities.
I will also be doing 500 pounds of Syrah and 500-1000 pounds of Zinfandel which should come in sometime between the first of October and October 21st.

This will be a heavy year for me wine wise pushing the limits about 100-120 gallon range depending on what I get Zinfandel wise. This years going to be hectic between working full time at a winery and doing all this.
 

mainshipfred

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I was getting ready to pick up my west coast grapes tomorrow getting 15 lugs. Then I received an email from my local vineyard saying the PV and Viognier are ready. So it's going to be a 1/2 ton crush tomorrow. My son is working Friday and Saturday so it's going to be a solo effort. But the real kick in the butt is no Tannat from this vineyard this year. Evidently the cicadas ate or killed the leaves and they have only a very small yield. Frantically looking for another source.
 
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