Thing One and Thing Two…Multiplied

If you are wondering what has kept me from writing lately, I’ll share them with you.  They started out as Thing One and Thing Two…

These big white boxes hold fermentations I named "Thing One" and "Thing Two"

and then multiplied to Things 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Thing One and Thing Two make up the entire Syrah component of Vintage 2011 for Graves Winegrowers.  We had a devastatingly low yield this year.  I had to purchase fruit for the first time in years to make up for it.

Thing Two is a Syrah-Viognier coferment.  This means that I put Syrah and Viognier together in the same vessel to ferment at one time.  There is only a small amount of Viognier in it, but I am interested to see how it turns out.  It looked like this when I first brought the fruit into the winery.

Syrah-Viognier Coferment

Thing One is just Syrah.  Look how beautiful it is!


The winery is now full to the rim with ferments.  You can barely even walk between them there are so many.  After the Syrah I brought in Grenache, Mourvedre and, for the first time, Cabernet.  I’m really excited about adding the Cabernet to the line-up.  Here is a picture of the calm before the storm.  Everything was so shiny and clean!  Not now.

Another harvest shot I’d like to share, this photo shows step one of the process when we bring the fruit into the winery.  This is how we get the fruit out of picking bins and into the fermentation vessel.  The workers are sorting through the fruit, removing anything that is less than perfect.

Doesn’t look so hard you say?  Well, let me take you through a day in the life of Hilary Graves during harvest.  Up at 5am to pack lunches for school, run some laundry, put a chicken or some beans in a dutch oven to cook real slow all day so that there is something for dinner.  Feed and water chickens, turkeys and dogs.  Leave at 6am to get a crew started picking grapes at 6:30.  Sometimes my husband can stay home with the girls in the morning to get them ready for school but if he can’t my mom comes over.  Back at 8:30 to drive the kids to school and drop them off.  Over to the winery for morning winery work.  Harvested fruit arrives sometime during the day and I put it in cold storage if I cannot process it immediately. Pick the girls up at school at 3pm, drive to swim practice  or sewing class which is from 3:30-4:30.  Then drive home.  Pick up eggs, feed the kids, do homework.  Bedtime at 8:30 for the girls, then back to winery to process fruit or do evening winery work.  It’s crazy!

I’m starting to feel like my life is getting back to normal although I still have one ferment left to manage at the winery.  Everything else has been pressed and is resting in barrel.  Overall I am really happy with the wines for Vintage 2011.  They are going to be great, but available in small quantity due to the tiny yields.

I hope to be back to posting a little more regularly now.  Happy weekend!


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