Monday, November 26, 2012

Offshores for Days

Fall is generally the best time of year for surf in California. The north Pacific Ocean comes alive and starts pushing swells southward. The weather is generally mild with plenty of glassy and offshore days. The water temperature is usually slightly warmer than other times of the year. I guess it's a mixed blessing having wine harvest season coincide with surf season; demanding work hours means little time for surfing, much less sleeping. Now that I've finished my vintage contract, I feel like I'm making up for lost time after enjoying over a week's worth of consecutive offshore days. With only two weeks left in California, I'm busy trying to tidy up life here before heading off. So, surfing has been a priority and photographs haven't; I happened to be enjoying Thanksgiving with my family down in Pismo so I snapped a quick photo.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks & Praise

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is a day dedicated to giving thanks for what we have in our lives. When I think about my life, I feel very blessed. I am grateful for all the experiences I've had in the past and will have in the future. I am grateful for my family, friends, and acquaintances that have made these experiences special. I am grateful for everyday that I live.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Harvest Update - It's All Over

Read this season's previous harvest updates: Last Week of Grapes, Another Rain Scare, What Day is It?, Rain Rain Go Away, Lines of Trucks, Aromatic Gruner Veltliner, Seeing More Good Fruit, Two Pinots, Slow Start, Christian's Report, Vintage is Nearly Here!.
The last fruit of this vintage arrived on Wednesday, just seven tons of Syrah off our estate vineyard. We have continued to work on pressing finished red ferments all week as well, not to mention racking them to barrel and inoculating them for malolactic fermentation. The majority of our white ferments are completing primary fermentation, so we worked on degassing, sulphuring, and racking quite a few tanks.

Today marks my final day of 2012 vintage. After taking a year sabbatical from winemaking, I was excited to be back at it this vintage. This was my tenth vintage split between California and New Zealand. It was also my third at Niven Family Wine Estates and I'm glad to have returned; I really like the crew here and we had an excellent vintage in terms of wine quality here in Edna Valley.

I'm excited to decompress and relax for a couple months before starting my next contract. I haven't finalized my plans quite yet but I'm hoping to travel to Australia for vintage 2013 after a short holiday in Bali and the Philippines with Kristin.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Autumn on California's Central Coast


With daylight savings time a week behind us, autumn is truly underway here in San Luis Obispo. Vintage is nearly over and the vineyards surrounding our winery have transitioned into a patchwork of colors. The cool nights are turning into cold nights, foreshadowing the imminent onset of winter. My car thermometer actually read 35 degrees (2 degrees Celsuis) this morning as I drove to work. Still, the sun came out early and soon I was shedding layers and enjoying another warm sunny day.
Though this is usually a rainy time of the year, storms usually pass quickly and allow blue skies to return. We've yet to see a real heavy storm thus far, something I haven't heard any complaints about. Until then, I'll just enjoy days like the one shown above. I took this photograph from the summit of Cerro San Luis, looking southeast towards Edna Valley (you can see Islay Peak near the middle); this view of San Luis Obispo is one I've always loved.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Harvest Update - Last Week of Grapes

Read this season's previous harvest updates: Another Rain Scare, What Day is It?, Rain Rain Go Away, Lines of Trucks, Aromatic Gruner Veltliner, Seeing More Good Fruit, Two Pinots, Slow Start, Christian's Report, Vintage is Nearly Here!.
 
We had a pretty slow week at Niven Family Wine Estates. We received less than 100 tons throughout the week: 80 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache from Paso Robles, 10 tons of Syrah from our vineyards here in Edna Valley, and 3 tons of Syrah for the Cal Poly Wine program. We also emptied several tanks draining, digging, and pressing red ferments; most of these will be filled up with our remaining 100 tons set to be harvested during the upcoming week. With our last week of harvesting upon us, the vintage staff (including yours truly) will be leaving in just two weeks. It seems like vintage flew right past, but we're glad to have a winery full of wonderful wines. Check back next week for a harvest recap detailing this vintage and its wines.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bali Blues

I feel the past several months have been a whirlwind since leaving Bali. Vintage has been compacted and crazy, but we're finally beginning to wind down. We have a winery full of beautiful wines and only two weeks left of work (for the casual employees that is).
I've already begun making travel plans and organizing a job for the Southern Hemisphere vintage 2013. I'm going to head to Bali on the 10th of December for a short surf trip before continuing on to the Philippines on the 23rd to spend Christmas with Kristin. While I'm anxiously waiting the beginning of another vintage, I can't wait to be back in tropical waters and good waves! So, here's a handful of photographs of myself from July before I left Bali.