Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wine Country Update and Seasonal Wrap-up

Well, it's that time of year, as the image to the left shows. I took this picture a few days ago. At the time I had just racked my first ever batch of Chardonnay. For the non-initiated, that means that after my wine finished fermenting, I allowed the dead yeast and 'lees' to settle to the bottom of the fermenter, and then I transferred the wine into clean containers to rest and age. I have about 5 1/2 gallons of chardonnay, which will make about 25 bottles when it's ready.

I also have 1 1/2 gallons of wine I made from wild california grapes (vitis californica) which I found growing along the riverbanks. That batch was high in acid and low in sugar, but with a few adjustments I think it might turn out okay. Next to that, I have two gallons of pear-mead, thanks to my sister's vigorous pear tree. That was from earlier this summer and I think it's almost ready to bottle :-)

And now the best part... tomorrow, I'm scheduled to go pick up 250 lbs. of Cabernet grapes. Cab has been trouble the last couple of years. It's the last grape to finish, and between the late frosts, early rain, and generally cooler summers, Cab has suffered. Anybody who tells you different is lying. 2010-2011 Cabs will only be good based on the experience and skill of the winemaker, presuming they came from NorCal. A few vineyards  with good sun and high altitude might skate by with little damage, but as of last week local vintners were scrambling to pull the Malbec and Petit grapes before they exploded. Literally. That's what happens when the grapes are almost ripe and then we get rain. They swell up like water balloons and explode when you touch them. Or look at them. Or walk by.

Anyway, the weather has warmed this last week, creeping up into the low 80's. Hopefully, that will be enough to put my grapes in the right sugar/acid balance so I don't have to fuss with them too much. If all goes well, my 250 pounds of grapes might turn into 75+ bottles (I know, small play but I'm working up to a full barrel). So wish me luck!

So, as of October 2011, here's the damage (both in wine and text):


2 Gallons Strawberry Wine
1 1/2 Gallons Blackberry Wine
1 1/2 Gallons Wildvine Wine
2 Gallons Pear-mead
5 1/2 Gallons Chardonnay (skin-fermented)
15-20 Gallons Cabernet Sauvignon (coming soon!)


5 Novels published
1 Anthology published
2 Shorts published individually

3 Novels written (two in revision for late 2011 publication, one on hold until the time is right)


By the end of the year I'd like to finish one more book, but I'm torn about what to write. I could work on the sequel to Tinkerer, which would be the logical step since Tinkerer is far and away my best seller, but I'd like to work on a sequel to Murder in the Boughs, even though the first book isn't pubbed yet and I have no how the public will receive it. Yeah, I know what my agent would say right now, but I don't have an agent. So do I follow my heart, or do I follow the $$$? Can I do both? We'll see how the year pans out.

I hope the rest of you are enjoying your autumn, and I hope you're ready for the holiday season... it's almost here!

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