#MFITV: 2011 Harvest Thoughts & the Quiet Winery

December 31, 2011

The 2011 Harvest is done. It has actually been done for the Northern California wine industry for a few weeks, but I needed those weeks to digest all that I have experienced (and re-acclimate to my previous life), before I was ready to write this final post for Man Falls in the Vines#MFITV. Harvest is such a compressed, intense experience. It has proven to be hard for me to sum up in a somewhat, year-end post. Despite such difficulties, I was able to complete my harvest insider feature article for the January edition of Mutineer Magazine, as well as their brand new Mutineer Magazine Beverage Trade Edition, also debuting in January. All of this experience, hard work, and camaraderie demand applause and to be forever thanked for, however. And after the jump, you will see all of the new (and one old) vinopanions that I made during those six weeks in Stags Leap, Napa at Chimney Rock Winery (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog).

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#MFITV: Draining, Digging, & Barreling Down

December 5, 2011

The heart of the Harvest season can be a surreal and crazy time. Yes, of course I guess, it’s crazy when you have a ton of things going on at once, including actual tons of ripe fruit to process and 15+ hour days dragging down your health. Indeed, I was sick twice during weeks 4 through 6 at the Rock for Man Falls in the Vines#MFITV, with the entire Chimney Rock Winery (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) crew coming down with something, at some point. Crush isn’t easy, that is known the industry over, but I was happy to see that I persevered along with everyone else (who are all harvest veterans) and learned quite a bit about what it was to work some of the most taxing parts of the harvest: digging out the fermentation tanks after barreling off our new free-run wine.

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#MFITV – The Fruit Gets Done

November 9, 2011

Weeks 2 and 3 of Man Falls in the Vines began super busy at the winery, but finished with the quietness of fermenting tanks. I have already talked of the craziness of Week 1 for #MFITV, when we brought in a good 150 tons of super premium Stags Leap District Bordeaux varieties. The last two weeks saw all of the rest of that fruit come in, all of it Cabernet Sauvignon, the heart blood of the Chimney Rock Winery (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) wines. Our days were definitely long, particularly the last two, where we had two more days of bringing in at least 70 tons of fruit. The last of the lots of Cabernet were completed on 10/27/11 with a healthy roar of relief by the vineyard and cellar crews, and capped off by a raucous bin dive by Jeff in the last ton of fruit. I was in the north barrel room doing my morning ferm monitoring, so I’m still bitter that I missed his swan dive. My bitterness was sweetened however, when Jeff discovered that grapes can really go everywhere and anywhere, when hit at high speed!

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Man Falls in the Vines – #MFITV

October 25, 2011

I’m delirious to announce a new project that I’ve stumbled into, courtesy of my fantastic sabbatical, rather sabbradical, from my work at Genentech: I am working the 2011 wine harvest (#Harvest2001) at Chimney Rock Winery (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) in the Stags Leap District (WineLog) of Napa Valley, CA. I will be the harvest intern and cellar worker of which I’ve always dreamed…and basically working my ass off helping to produce fine Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, rosé, (Fiano), and Meritage wines.

My participation in the controlled chaos of crush at the Rock comes courtesy of Terlato Wine Group (WineLog), my best friend Jeff van de Pol, Assistant Winemaker; and Elizabeth Vianna (Twitter), Winemaker and General Manager.

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Clos LaChance, the PGA and the Frys.com Open

November 18, 2010

Clos LaChance at the PGA Tour Frys.com OpenSometimes wine can take to you places that are just plain cool. Well, cooler than the usual cool things that come with wine…or something. In any case, last month I had one of those experiences where my interest in wine took me to something new: my first PGA Tour tournament, complete with a winery on site. A golfer for the last few years, this understandably had me a bit fired up. Golf and wine!? Heck yeah! After graciously accepting a PGA Tour Media pass, the Lady, Steve and I headed into the Frys.com Open at Cordevalle and Clos LaChance for a day of sunshine, wine, incredible golf and new vinopanions, all along the cart path.

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Palate Press Article: 2009 NorCal Harvest Report

December 23, 2009

Palate Press - The Online Wine MagazineThis past week saw another article of mine published at Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine. I first mentioned Palate Press when it had its very successful launch earlier this year, as well as when my first article debuted, a comparison of crystal stemware. My second article is now posted, a wide-ranging review of the 2009 harvest across many of the appellations in Northern California.

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