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Is it too early to start thinking about 2017 season?

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NorCal

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The old saying, "you can make bad wine from good grapes, but you can't make good wine from bad grapes" has always made me search for the best fruit I can buy. My experience with small, home run vineyards has not been that great. Buying from commercial vineyards can be tricky, as we've been dropped more than once when there is a shortage of good fruit o go around.

So, the best approach I have found is through relationships with the vineyard managers. Being super flexible; next day, mid week harvest notice, buy a full ton, pay immediately, thank you email...etc.

To that end, @4Score need to get our plans together. Cab Franc is definitely one of the grape varieties and the headliner. Now, finding good stand alone varietals, which are also good blending partners, that we can get from known commercial vineyards is our task at hand.

Syrah from this year.
 

Boatboy24

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Like you, I'm already thinking about next fall. I'm thinking of giving Pinot Noir a try - I've been very happy with the grapes from Lanza so why not? I haven't gotten much beyond that though. Already have a Rose and two white kits in the pipeline. That'll round out my 'light' wines for the year. Still working on other reds or red blends from grapes though. But its never too early to start!
 

Brub58

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I've been thinking about it for months. Grapes are ordered and confirmed - 150kg Canaiolo, 80kg Vermentino, and 80kg Riesling. The Canaiolo should be ready late Jan or early Feb and the whites in March.

Plus I got an early Christmas press-ent yesterday. The shop had a 10%off sale last week and I've had my eye on this all year.

IMG_0504.jpg
 

Johny99

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Brub58 you will love the press. I bought one this year, what a time saver over the basket press.
 

Brub58

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I hope so John. On the original topic, I am really looking forward to 2017 vintage. I moved house (downsized) in 2015 and with selling the old house and fixing up the new unit I didn't make wine that year. This year I thought I would and had grapes ordered, but we had a hot summer and everything was early. I came back from holidays and rang the grower to discover it was all over and I'd missed out. The wine guild had ordered 1200kg of Malbec for next year, but a hail storm/mini-tornado went through the vineyard a couple of months ago and wiped out half the crop, so we've now split between Malbec and Canaiolo to get the volume we need for everybody. Vintage can't come soon enough for me. At least I don't have to wait an extra 6 months like you guys!
 

jgmann67

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With any luck, I'll be a happy wine maker this fall. Not sure what I want to make, though. Maybe I'll reconsider that blend I was thinking about last year. But I'm with Jim (Boatboy) - Lanza grapes were very good last year.
 

JohnT

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Very nice bladder press! May only great wines spring from it.

2017??? Sheeeesh!

I can't even think about that yet. I have a TON of 2015 bottling to do, racking, cleaning, organizing, vacations, gardening, and cooking before any of that can happen.

2017? Great, put yet another worry in my head. Now I will never get any sleep. :)
 

4score

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I agree we need to get plans together and "reserved" for 2017. It can get quite competitive around here!

Cab Franc will likely be the primary grape and we can look for blending partners like Petite Syrah for sure. There's another wrinkle....to go to the Cab Franc route, we would be leaving one vineyard and going back to our original source. The one we'd be leaving has been doing an amazing job for us, most recently with Barbera. They don't grow Cab Franc. Our Barbera has been getting more praise than anything else we've done. I worry about getting "out of line" with this vineyard if we (@Norcal and @4score) go back solely to the other vineyard. So, I think we should try and reserve some amount of 2017 Barbera grapes. We're lucky to be recognized customers of this vineyard since their policy is only to sell to commercial wineries. So, perhaps Cab Franc and Petite Syrah from one vineyard and Barbera at the other vineyard.

I can't believe we're already thinking about 2017 orders!
 

FreddyC

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I start my 2017 planning now. Some of it has to do with how I prune my vineyard and some which grapes I want to work with. My wine club has a grape buying co-op, but after you've belonged for awhile it's nice to start looking elsewhere as well. I've got a couple/three growers of Pinot I will be contacting once spring comes on.
 

NorCal

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It is a struggle to get top quality fruit as a home winemaker. I've been disappointed by mom and pop vineyards, so I hear ya @4score, we need to maintain our relationships to get top quality fruit.
 
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NorCal

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I thought I would follow up. @4Score and I are each planning on making a 60 gallon barrel of Cab Franc with 20% Petite Syrah co-fermented. We will also be getting a 1/2 ton of Chardonnay and a ton of Tempranillo which we will be going in with @BusaBill. There are also some other friends taking wine after fermentation. Total volume of grapes will be 7,000 pounds!
 

AKsarben

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We have around 230 acres of different varieties. Then we have contract growers. So hoping the spring is cold until the frost danger is past. Last year we fermented around 200,000 gallons of wine, and about 350,000 gallons of apple cider, for outside clients and us. Today, we centrifuged the 2016 Vidal Icewine "B" our second batch. Alcohol of 10.88 and RS somewhere around 21%, and around 2300 gallons of that sticky stuff. LOL

:)
 

downunder

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Well vintage 2017 is just about over. Waiting for the last of the Shiraz to get super sweet so we can make port. The grape quality (and quantity) are spectacular. For the first time in 40 years have not had to irrigate the vines. Only problem is that every other grape grower has had the same vintage and wineries are rationing how many grapes they take from each grower. Who would own a vineyard lol.
 

Brub58

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Well vintage 2017 is just about over. Waiting for the last of the Shiraz to get super sweet so we can make port. The grape quality (and quantity) are spectacular. For the first time in 40 years have not had to irrigate the vines. Only problem is that every other grape grower has had the same vintage and wineries are rationing how many grapes they take from each grower. Who would own a vineyard lol.
Where are you based? My wine guild had their allocation cut back due to storm damage around Mildura before Christmas. We ended up getting a mix of Sagrantino, Malbec, and Nero D'avola to make up the numbers. I got the Sagrantino and it went in the barrel at the weekend. I'm still waiting for grapes from the Yarra Valley, so we're not done yet.
 

JohnT

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Well, Look like my 2017 season is about to start in two weeks.

Placed my Chilean grape order yesterday. My plan is to do 300 liters of 85 cab franc/15 merlot. Grapes seem to be the same price as last year ($25 per half-lug).

Going forward, the next several months looks like this...

4/1, 4/8 - Wash bottles, maintain equipment, and get ready for bottling. Do a full cellar tasting on 4/8 (end of my lent.. WooHoo).

4/15, 4/29 - Enjoy Easter and Bottle, Bottle, Bottle!!! Wine is urgently needed for my Niece's Wedding and associated family gatherings. My brother's cellar is so dry that the Sahara Desert looks like a swamp by comparison. We also need to free up a barrel for the 2015 reserve, and then a 300 liter tank for Chilean Crush.

5/6 - My Niece (the daughter I always wanted) gets married. It is just like my niece to think that her wedding is more important than my winemaking. So self-centered.. (sigh)... I guess I will just have to humor her.. LOL

5/13, 5/20 - Estimated arrival of the Chilean grapes is 5/11 so, on 5/13, I will be picking them up and crushing them. I then plan to press them on 5/20 (followed by the traditional steak dinner).

5/27 - Maintain and put away all equipment from Chilean crush and give the winery a good cleaning.

6/3 - My Wife's birthday, so the whole world must STOP!

6/17,6/24, 7/1 - Rack Chilean and Bottle, bottle, bottle!

7/6 - 7/9 - Enjoying the 4 day Briggs Blues Festival and Camping experience.


After limited activity since last November (the last full racking), I am actually looking forward to having things gear up!!!
 

downunder

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Where are you based? My wine guild had their allocation cut back due to storm damage around Mildura before Christmas. We ended up getting a mix of Sagrantino, Malbec, and Nero D'avola to make up the numbers. I got the Sagrantino and it went in the barrel at the weekend. I'm still waiting for grapes from the Yarra Valley, so we're not done yet.
Half way between the Barossa Valley and Adelaide. Still trying to sell some of my Shiraz, Grenache and Sangiovese
 
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