Jason Joyce
September 12, 2012 | Chalk Talk | Jason Joyce

Harvest Barrage

 Today was a legitimate day of harvest.  We run a small operation so when 8 tons of Chardonnay shows up in the morning, that's a big day for this crew.  Add in one of our custom crush clients popping up with a ton of Viognier, and you've got your day's work cut out for you. 

    One exciting thing about those 8 tons of Chardonnay was that for the first time ever, Calcareous brought in some machine picked fruit.  I've only worked at small artisanal wineries, so I've never gotten to work with machine fruit.  It is always one of those things I get to say, "All our fruit is handpicked", which sounds cool but I didn't have actual experience of the difference.  So just for fun, we decided to try our hand at it. 

    I'd heard horror stories from friends who worked at wine factories overseas about the "bonus" material that comes along with machine fruit, so I knew we weren't just going to go straight to the press like we do with our Estate Chardonnay.  We hand sorted through all 8 tons, pulling out anything and everything that didn't belong.  It was quite an eye opener.  I won't go into the details here, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stomach a $3 bottle of wine quite as much ever again.  In order to make that cheaply, you don't take the time and expense to hand sort all the fruit.  At the end of the day, the fruit was quite beautiful.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.   There really wasn't much of a difference quality wise, just a matter of sorting out all the junk in the vineyard of in the winery.

     So the press ran all day long, and the barrage of fruit was answered with a barrage of beers.  We had some pizza delivered out into the country (by my wife, no pizza guy's coming way out here) and enjoyed these boys.

Some Dutch treats I picked up to test out:

Some German Pale

   And the Hipster Pub Standard:


I think I'm gonna go with the kids on this one.  Pabst just has a bit more flavor and slight "enjoyability", though the Oranjeboom was a close second.  Beck's was pretty much Bud Light with lederhosen.   Luckily, the tasting room showed mercy on me and all the rough stuff I've been drinking and deliverd a couple of six packs of higher caliber hops and malt.  The future looks bright.

     Also some new jams showed up in the mail yesterday, which always helps.



max's Gravatar
@ Sep 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Crazy about the machine stuff. I have seen documentaries that talk about all the little stuff that makes it into the harvest from machine picked fruit...so thanks for sifting through all the clusters for us.

Jason's Gravatar
@ Sep 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM
You're welcome Max. I only wish I was as good at blending wine as you are!

max's Gravatar
@ Sep 17, 2012 at 1:52 PM
Haha, well let me know if you need any tips. I had a question though, how do you determine which styles of yeast to use for the different grapes. Are there standard strains? do you experiment with strains? Or is word of mouth the main guide? Glad to see harvest is going well. Let me know if you need an extra hand ever.

Jason's Gravatar
@ Sep 17, 2012 at 2:22 PM
Hmmm, sounds like an idea for a blog post......Stay Tuned

max's Gravatar
@ Sep 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Thanks Jason


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