November 29, 2011
The next day I went to help out with the harvest, we harvested the Chardonnay. The grapes were presorted in the vineyard, meaning that they did not pick the rotten fruit. About half of the fruit was in picking lugs while the rest was in field bins (large bins that hold a little over a ton of fruit). The hopper that feeds into the conveyor belt can only hold so much weight and when we went to dump one of the bins in, the hopper became jammed. It was annoying to have to move the grapes back into the bin just so the hopper could move again. It only took a few hours to get the Chardonnay crushed and into the press.
Once all of the grapes were in the press, we had sometime to clean up and check the fermentations of the wines. The winemaker likes to check the temperature and the Brix of the wine just about everyday. He is very well organized with his record keeping system and I found it to be very impressive. The other wineries I have worked at had limited record keeping, if anything at all. I even find record keeping to be annoying at times, but if it is done properly, it will pay off if something ever goes wrong. I have been trying to develop a convenient record system that does not cost thousands of dollars, but it this not easy to do, especially when the people I am trying to develop it for have limited computer knowledge. The system used at Sheldrake Point is very well done. There is a section in a binder devoted to each wine and there are different sheets that are used for different stages of the winemaking process. Near the beginning of the section is a sheet that has all of the harvest data for easy reference. After that is a sheet for fermentation notes. It has columns for date, temperature, brix and pH. Having a system like this makes it very easy for both the winemaker and the TTB to find data if it is needed. I am definitely going to continue to develop my system using some of the techniques that are used at Sheldrake.