In Temecula valley, the last late-harvest grapes were picked this week.
It was Shiraz varietal picked at 28.5 Brix, to be used for port-style wine. Crush season is now closed. One month after harvest, the grapevines are now preparing for their dormant period. The color of the leaves turn to yellowish and red before they are shed in November. We have stopped irrigation a few weeks ago. Here and there you'll find a shriveled cluster of grapes, looking more and more like raisins. And, by the way, they taste like raisins too. Added a picture on the photos page.
Work in the vineyard is now reduced to cleaning up weeds, mowing and mulching. Our soil appears to be nutrient deficient, so we need fertilizer applications. And then there is the increasing gopher population (yes, they're back) that needs control.
We have a few dead vines that did not spring back to life this season. They will need to be removed so we can replant in May when we start irrigation again.
Last week we purchased a used John Deere 430 tractor mower. We were lucky to find this tractor for sale at less than one mile distance from our vineyard, and could actually drive it over.
Yesterday, we had it serviced and checked by a mobile mechanic. It runs great, and appears very well maintained for it's age (1988).
Here is a nice description that we found on www.weekendfreedommachines.com:
In 1984, Deere introduced the 430, Deere’s first tractor to combine a diesel engine with hydrostatic drive and power steering. The 430 utilized a Yanmar 3-cylinder water-cooled diesel, and all of the features previously found on a 420. Turning radius and attachments remained the same, but weight was up; 1170 pounds. The heaviest, strongest John Deere garden tractor ever. Many consider these to be the best that John Deere ever built, perhaps the best in the industry. No other garden tractor combined all of the features and stamina, convenience and versatility that epitomized the 400 series.
Impressive review. Hope this machine will give us a few more years of fun working in the vineyard !
After 14 days of fermentation, we pressed our wine today. The wine has been transferred into a container where the fermentation will complete, and solids and yeast will gradually sink to the bottom. To remove the solids from the wine, we will carefully rack the wine to another container in a few weeks and leave it there for further maturation.