Caitlin – October 9th, 2012
I must confess something to you. I omitted a key piece of information from Part 1. About two weeks ago, Dr. Bob called Robert to tell him we wouldn’t be getting any Vidal Blanc after all. He produced less fruit than he thought he would. I didn’t mention it because it didn’t really fit into my flow. It was very disappointing for Robert, and me too, because I don’t like to see him sad. As much as I didn’t want 100 pounds of white grapes in our house, Robert being sad was worse.
My last post ended with our prep work for the crush, so let’s take it from there. We drove out to Dr. Bob’s with five fermenting buckets, enough for 300 pounds of red grapes (150 pounds of Cabernet France and 150 pounds of Cabernet Sauvignon), and our potassium metabisulfate. I suspect that Robert will update you on some of the more scientific aspects shortly. We drove up, greeted by the pleasant and familiar sounds of renowned composer John Williams’ masterpiece, the Score to Jurassic Park. Dr. Bob was working in the field. He apparently likes to listen to hot tunes when he does so. He must have some serious, industrial outdoor speakers. I kid you not, the music could be heard throughout the vineyard. With the light rain, and fog, and violins, it was eerie.
Another noise surprised us. A lack there-of, actually. No buzzing. No bees. It was 45 degrees yesterday in Westminster. It was also drizzling. Bees don’t like the cold, or wet. Hallelujah!
Dr. Bob greeted us with a smile and said he wasn’t quite done cutting our fruit yet. He asked if we wanted to join him. I screamed, “OH MY GOD DR. BOB, WE HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO HARVEST THE FRUIT OURSELVES. IS THIS THE GREATEST DAY EVER? WOULD IT BE WEIRD IF I HUGGED YOU RIGHT NOW?” In my head. I think I was overexcited about the absence of bees. Out loud I said, “that sounds great”, in a normal voice.
We followed Dr. Bob, he on his tractor and us using our feet, and helped harvest the Cabernet Franc – he had already harvested the Sauvignon. When we were finished, he said, “now we’ll go get your white!” Robert and I froze – we weren’t supposed be getting any white. We didn’t have enough buckets! We didn’t rent our press.
Another key difference between red wine and white wine is that white grapes need to be pressed immediately, while red grapes are pressed later in the process, after fermentation.
We rent our press from Maryland Home Brew, which, from the vineyard, is the opposite direction from our house. Not to mention, we needed to have picked it up at least 24 hours previous if we had intended to press as soon as we got home. What now?
I can confirm the following:
- Robert succeeded in getting his 100 pounds of Vidal Blanc grapes.
- It was definitely more romantic than previous years.
- No one died of bee stings.
Stay tuned to discover answers to the following burning questions:
- Did we succeed in turning our white grapes into what we actually need – white grape juice?
- If we did succeed, with only five fermenting buckets, where the heck did we put it?
- Do we now own the Score to Jurassic Park?
I’ll give you a sneak preview by answering the third question. Yes, we totally own it now.