Lots of lots

October 19, 2011



Today was another busy day here at Amapola Creek.

We managed to get the Belli Chardonnay down to barrels and moved inside in the morning.

Then we started receiving grapes. We started off by receiving just over a ton of Petite Sirah from Monte Rosso. This pick was particularly difficult because there was a significant amount of rot in the field by the time we decided to harvest, and the crew had to go very, very slowly to make sure none of it was making it into bins.

After that we started getting in our Estate Syrah and Grenache.

Syrah berries have a characteristic elongated shape, kind of like a babys’ toe.

These two varieties come from our Bobcat Run vineyard, which is halfway up the property, about a quarter mile from the winery (we’ll write in a little bit more detail about this block tomorrow). We used to make a varietal Syrah, but starting in 2009 we started making a Rhone style red blend of Syrah and Grenache that we call Cuvee Alis (named after Richards’ wife).

This was a relatively short year for the Cuvee Alis, early rains in spring damaged the Grenache during flowering, so we only got a few hundred pounds of it. More recent rains caused some rot in the Syrah, so we didn’t get as much of that as usual either. Altogether, we brought in less than two tons of these two varieties, which put us in a difficult spot logistically.

Two tons is not enough to put in any of our larger stainless steel tanks, but it’s a little too much to put into our porta-tanks (we could have split it out into the two of them, but we need to leave one open for pressing into). So, we ended up putting the Grenache and about half of the Syrah into a porta-tank, and the rest of the Syrah into a T-bin, or one-ton plastic bin. The mixture of the Syrah and Grenache will be the base of the Cuvee Alis, with the T-bin getting blended in if it is of a high enough quality. We also split the Petite Sirah into two T-bins.

T-bins can’t be hooked up to the refrigeration system, but fermentations this small generally don’t create enough heat to cause a problem.
Having this many small lots can be a bit of a challenge to keep track of, but it’s just an aspect of being a very small winery with a number of different programs.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.


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