Raven's Call

Raven's Call
Haida Raven

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2008 Vintage at Ram's Head Vineyard and Winery

Well, we harvested our 2008 "crop" at the newly dubbed "Ram's Head Vineyard and Winery" in early October. Only 26 of the (well, first year, after all) Madeleine Angevine plants had grapes, so it was a very limited harvest. Here is the entire crop:

Still, we decided not to waste these first precious grapes (having not yet ever tasted Mad Ang wine!), so we crushed by hand and put it in a fermenter.

And yes, sadly that is a 1-gallon carboy, so the final yield was just one 500-ml bottle of 2008 Estate bottled Madeleine Angevine from Ram's Head. (Our logo ram, Chico).But the good news is, that after fermenting, stabilizing, fining and resting for a month, when we cracked the half-liter at our family Thanksgiving day feast, it was... not bad! This is very encouraging as we have 50 or so plants of this variety, so were hoping for "drinkable" results.

In preparation for the future harvests here at Ram's Head we also obtained a vintage grape crusher off eBay:

and after completely disassembling, blasting, cleaning, refinishing and then building a hopper, the final result looks pretty good.

Then, after we bought 100 pounds of merlot grapes from eastern Washington, I decided I better have a grape press too.

Although it was tempting to buy a vintage press, the clean-up task seemed daunting. New presses seemed, to me, to be overpriced, so I tried building my own. I must say that it turned out alright. After a first test revealed my design flaws, and these were remedied, here is the final product.

Well, I say final, but a discerning eye may note that the framework is softwood - which just won't do. I will rebuild the framework this winter in oak. But I have plenty of time until next fall's grape crop!