Friday, August 22, 2008

Young Oak Vineyards - Vol. 20: Back To School!?

Hi all:

This post's featured musical artist is the consummate "Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks".  Dan went to high school in Santa Rosa and hit the San Francisco music scene in the late 60's. This cut, "I Scare Myself", is his signature piece, although I like his original "The Walkin' One & Only" when I want to tap my foot a bit!


Well, the grapevines are continuing to do well.  I noticed the Pinot Noir vineyard on Concepcíon Road, about a mile or two from my house, is now fully laden with grapes.  Last year, the vineyard master there told me that they typically pick in late August to early September, because the Pinot Noir grapes mature earlier here in Los Altos Hills due to the warmer climate, compared with some of the other coastal valley regions known for Pinot Noir (Remember the movie "Sideways"!). Mark Vernon, Ridge COO, mentioned that they usually pick 4-6 weeks after the grape turn to their dark color.  Well, we only have a couple of handfuls of grapes on our vines this first season as you can see in the picture below!  Maybe I will make a couple of glasses of grape juice for Kristen and I to toast you all!

I found a great description of the laboratory equipment & techniques from the Hardy Wine Company in Australia, used for the measuring sugar content of grapes and determining when to pick.  I have been exposed to this information in the past, but it will be interesting to re-learn about these methods.  By the way, the Hardy Wine Company, founded in 1850's, is now the largest winemaker in the world.  Through mergers and acquisitions, they recently changed their name to Constellation Wines Australia.

On a related note, Ron Mosely, the owner of Vinescape and the installer of my neighbor Mark's vineyard, will be teaching in the new Viticulture Program at Foothill College starting this Fall '08 term.  The "Establishing A Vineyard" class, which I would love to take, is on Fridays, so, unfortunately, I won't be able to attend.  I think I will try to sit in on at least one class, though.  Additionally, Foothill is offering a winemaking class on two Saturdays this Fall (Sept. 27th & Oct. 4th), which I am planning to register for!  Check it out and maybe we can take it together!!

See you after class,
John

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