Monthly Archives: September 2011

Low yields, small clusters, tiny berries…

It’s harvest time in California. There will be lots of hype and PR flying around, claiming yet another vintage of the millennium. Among the buzz terms bandied about will be “low yields“, “small clusters“, “tiny berries“… I have helped pick … Continue reading

Posted in Nihilistic Contrarianism | Leave a comment

All I am saying is: “Give these grapes a chance”

I had danced around the idea of putting in some vines on my parents’ property for a few years. I thought, speculated, hypothesized, asked questions and looked around to determine what would actually do well in that site. It was … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

A geode in a bottle

You tilt a glass to get that last sip, and as you watch the elixir disappear, you notice a rivulet of tiny, sparkling, diamond-like crystals tumbling towards your mouth. You recoil from the glass, spitting and sputtering. Maybe you’ve opened … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment


This morning, after determining that the yeasts we originally pitched on the Aglianico were dead, I opened a new packet of RC 212 and sprinkled it on top of the must. By noon, there were signs if fermentation activity. After … Continue reading

Posted in Making Wine | Leave a comment

Dead Yeast Cells Aren’t Much Fun

Two things you may not know about me are: 1) I can be a penny-inching miser (comes from standing in food lines as a child) and 2) I grew up listening to the Dr. Demento Show (yes, I was a … Continue reading

Posted in Making Wine | Leave a comment

It’s beginning to smell a lot like a winery…

This past Sunday, my son and I checked the sugars and acids on the Aglianico fruit on my back-up vines. The pH was around 3.5 – 3.7 (but my pH meter was acting up) and the sugars were at 25 … Continue reading

Posted in Making Wine | Leave a comment

I’m no nature boy, but I’m willing to experiment

Joe Dressner, renown importer of natural wines passed away Saturday. My heartfelt condolences to his family and all those who feel his absence. 60 is way too early to go. I did not know Dressner, so I defer to Eric … Continue reading

Posted in Fermentation experimentation | 22 Comments

Superficial fluff

There is not much meaningful work one can accomplish while holding a restless newborn. Many of my mornings are spent this way. Before my clinical workload comes in, my wife catches up on her sleep while I do my best … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Ugly? Yes. Effective? Maybe.

My back-up Aglianico vines have more clusters per vine than those in the vineyard. Go figure. I had promised my son that he could make wine from these vines. If things work out, he could get two 750s out of … Continue reading

Posted in My vines | 2 Comments

The soul of the soil – a quixotic search

Although I am neither prideful nor a generally proud person, I do pride myself on being rather intrepid and seeking a deeper understanding of the things around me. In some instances, this curiosity merely satisfies a pursuit of trivial factoids … Continue reading

Posted in My Vineyard | Leave a comment