Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We have the best friends and family! We decided that we needed to bottle Saturday, so a whole group of good friends and family came out to help. Dave and I got so busy in the tasting room and with various visitors that we didn't even really get to do much, but Pat was there to supervise and it was done before we knew it. Denny and Ann came out to get some pictures for a Splurge article, and before I knew it, Denny was right in the middle helping out. And then when we decided we needed to get the new tanks set up, we had the right team there to make it look easy. When it was done, we had the time and energy for goofy pictures in the vineyard. What a great day! And of course we had a wonderful pot luck dinner afterwards, with a homegrown tomato taste off. This is the essence of vineyard living, and why we love it so much!
The grapes are visibly starting to ripen, and we think we are getting closer to harvest. We think mid-August may be when we get started, but will know better in the next week or so.

Dave got the new tanks this week, and took my dad along to pick them up. We were all thrilled he went instead of me, since I always have visions of losing large and heavy things along the highway. It went fine, and we now have them set up and ready. As I look at them, I start to think we are becoming a real winery. Of course, I think that every time we make a major step forward, and it makes me question what makes a winery real. Is it the size, the quality, the financial stability? Or like the Velveteen Rabbit, is it when we are loved? We certainly felt loved this week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summertime in Kansas is rarely this lovely, but we are taking full advantage of it, being outside whenever possible. And we are saving up our strength as we mentally prepare for harvest. The first grapevine to start to go through veraison (color change) is a vine that isn't where it should be, and we don't know what it is, but sure is pretty! And it gives us hope that harvest will come sometime in the next month or so.

Pat, our number one assistant, went to wine school in Missouri last week, and came home with all sorts of good information. He told us the highlights were pH, temperature control and sanitation. We have a pretty good handle on pH, and our sanitation procedures passed muster, but temp control remains an elusive goal. Dave is looking into upgrading the insulation in the winery building, and he just ordered some jacketed tanks. (There goes my profit for the year!) So we will work on that piece. There is always more to learn, it seems.

We had another visit from a vineyard consultant last week, Andy Allen, from the University of Missouri. He showed us a lot of things we could do to improve the trellising, but I think we were generally on the right track. We had a couple of other vineyard owners out, too, and got a ton of questions answered. We also got to see first hand what 2,4-D damage looks like. I know our neighbors are careful, but I guess it's time to call the county and the highway department again and remind them that we are here.

The farm epitomizes fertility right now. The grapes are starting to ripen, the tomato plants are producing like crazy, the chickens are finally starting to lay eggs, and the "male" cat that Brian dropped off for the summer looks extremely pregnant. Kittens, anyone?