Monthly Archives: September 2011


Brix (bricks): “Relative density scale used in the sugar and winemaking industry, it indicates the percent of cane sugar (sucrose) by weight (grams per 100 milliliter of water) in a solution or juice of unfermented grapes in degrees Brix (°Bx). One °Bx equals one percent (so, if grapes are picked at 20 degrees Brix they consist of 20% sugar) and, in winemaking, the alcohol concentration of the finished wine is estimated to be 0.55 times the °Bx of the grape juice.”     ’nuff said.

I know you have all seen this picture before:

That’s because at this stage of the game there are very few changes in the vineyard and not too many tasks to do except an occasional watering. What we get to do now is sit and wait until the grapes are judged ready to harvest. Presently we are at around 22 degrees Brix, and we will pick our grapes at around 23 degrees Brix. However, as luck would have it, that is not the only consideration. Around the same time that the sugar content of the grapes rise, the winemakers are also looking for well-developed seeds where the pulp of the grape has pulled away from the seed leaving it brown and crunchy. And of course the winemakers are looking for flavors that are full and ripe. As we move into October and the days get shorter there are a couple of roadblocks that can derail the project. (No big surprise there!)  As we all know, most plants react to shorter days by shutting down and preparing for dormancy…it is no different in the vineyard. Once a vineyard has shut down, the ripening process is pretty much done so it is a race to get the clusters off the vines. Rain…did I mention rain? Rain goes hand in hand with rot. The vineyard has already been “blessed” with a small shower last Sunday, with the possibility of a few more next week. But in the midst of our Northern California Indian summer the days will remain warm enough to hopefully bump up the ripening process. Just a few more days to the finish…we are estimating 10 days to 2 weeks until harvest! Keep your fingers crossed!!!


Wow! Did I have a great time in Big Sky Country! The highlight was a big hike to a mountain lake for lunch and a little fishing. It was also such a treat to spend time with my buddies, Gracie, Annie, Rambo (even though he was a bit too amorous for my taste), and their people Joe and Beth, Bill and Dottie, and Roger. Many thanks again to Joe and Beth for their hospitality!

Love and kisses, Honey

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

P.S.  Those aren’t big bees nests, they are charcoal kilns!

“The Canyon Creek kilns produced charcoal needed to smelt ore at Glendale. These kilns today, are partially preserved and protected by State Park Officials for future historical enjoyment.”



Filed under Fly fishing, Pinot Noir, Vineyard


time for cider and doughnuts, harvest (we hope) and fly fishing! Mom’s niece Melissa, who is pregnant is taking care of the cider and doughnuts for the moment (wink), harvest is churning along as we patiently wait for ripening of our grapes and Dad is on his yearly fly fishing expedition with his friend Will from school days at U of M and a couple of Will’s buddies from Ann Arbor. This time they are in Yellowstone. Mom got this email this morning:

“We got into the park yesterday afternoon and fished the Lamar, but got skunked.   Going to do a hike up the Lamar today a few miles off the road to hopefully get away from the crowds.  Still a fair number of people here, altho’ it is the weekend.  Weather is beautiful–high 70’s–and lots of hoppers when you walk through the meadows.   It’s the bug of choice per the fly shop people, but I guess the trout in the Lamar didn’t get the memo.
We hiked about a mile to the Lamar across a rolling meadow from the road.  Coming back there was a herd of 10 antelope that kept slightly ahead of us but didn’t completely spook.  Paul was a ways behind Will and I, and could see up a bluff that we were coming up and spotted a wolf!  Very disappointed that I didn’t get to see it. Shortly after that,  while we were getting out of our waders, a ranger showed up with a tracking antenna and told us it was a young male that had a collar on.  He could track it in the hills across the road but we couldn’t spot it.   Saw lots of buffalo and elk on the drive back at dusk.  This place is friggin beautiful!
Give the little missus a good belly rub for me and I send you a telepathic kiss!   T
Yesterday she received this email from Graciebutt’s Dad. Joe and Beth are staying at a place on the Big Hole in Montana.

“A big hole has sucked the water out of the Big Hole! This is lowest I have ever seen it. The big run off from the giant snow melt washed away at least five feet of bank behind the private home on the back 40. Wading was much easier. There are actually more holes to fish this year. 
I hooked three on a #12 attractor pattern. The bug of choice remains the parachute Adams. I hooked several small fish on it. Beth caught two. We did not even put on a nymph today. Geoge says a size #14 Bead Head Prince is the way to go.

We did land a big brown today. A buck hit the attractor at the end of the riffle. My guess is he went 18 inches. If someone will bring a tape we can measure Beth’s net.  The fish had to bend to get it in. 

The weather is….in a word….beautiful. Near 78 degrees. 

No moose sightings as of 3:30 MDT. We did see a Bald Eagle fly up the channel late yesterday evening. More deer than you would care to count. No antelope on the property yet but we saw a ton on the way up from Dillon yesterday. 

Well, time to check out the upper 40.” 

Sounds like they are all having a really good time. As for me, I got breakfast but no belly rub yet. Now we have to go check the emitters in the vineyard. Each block is getting a 10 hour deep watering. Sometimes the emitters get clogged with iron and other mysterious goo. This is the job Mom loves the most. She gets all wet and crabby. Oh well…maybe I will get a big belly rub later.

So as we head off into the vineyard I will keep one image in my mind. Graciebutt, Annie, and me in Montana! Love, Honey


Filed under Fly fishing, Pinot Noir, Vineyard