Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down Time??

Old wine bottles I've collected
 It may seem like there is a lot of down time in the winter, but the winery keeps me busy. This is the time when I blend wines to make a new product,

I'll blend many different wines and store them for later use, to make sure that the blend ages well. Some wines, when blended, taste great for a few days or even a couple of weeks; but over time I'll notice that the taste "turns away". I'll usually re-taste the wine about a week or so after the initial blend, and again after a few months, to make sure it is compatible for long storage times.
  "it a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Its always a good idea to ask some friends over to help you judge the blends. Otherwise, you'll end up drinking all the resulting blend yourself (yipee!), either way its a great way to spend a snowy afternoon.
       Believe it or not, there is actually a scientific approach to blending wines - but don't worry, it's really rather simple. If you can add and subtract, I'll show you a method of blending that involves using a visual math tool known as the Pearson Square.

The easiest way to illustrate how the Pearson Square works is to do an example....
For our illustration, let's say I'm blending because I would like to lower the level of alcohol in the wine. I have some Merlot that is 15% alcohol, and I would like to blend it with another wine so that the new wine end up with a target alcohol of 12%. The other wine's alcoholic content is 11%.

Let's begin by showing you what the Pearson Square looks like:

Pearson Square
The center of the square, shown by the letter "C", represents the "target" value I want to blend for (in this case, I want to obtain a wine of 12% alcohol).
The upper left corner, shown by the letter "A", represents the known alcohol percentage of wine #1 ( Merlot, which is 15%).
The lower left corner, shown by the letter "D", represents the known alcohol percentage of wine #2 (another Merlot, which is 11%)

To use the Pearson Square, we merely substitute numbers for the letters in the diagram, and then do some simple subtraction. Find the difference between the values in the corner and the center "target" value, and place the answer in the opposite corners. This value is always the absolute value (no negative numbers allowed!) of the difference.... so, for our example:
15 minus 12 equals 3, and
12 minus 11 equals 1

Here's what the Pearson Square looks like now:

Pearson Square - Example calculations
Voila! As you can see, we need 3 parts of the 11% wine to mix with 1 part of the 15% wine, and we will end up with our "target" wine of 12%. Pretty neat, huh?

I use this same sort of logic when I want to raise or lower pH, acidity, sugar levels, specific gravity. I just put the target value in the center, the known values for the two wines in the left corners, and do some subtraction to obtain the mixing ratios.

I only blend small quantities of wine until I achieve the desired effect. There is no need to make a lot of something that I'm not be pleased with. I only blend wines that were made in the same year. This will ensure that the new wine will last for a while.  I always keep detailed notes on my blending attempts so I can duplicate the blend in the future.

It's time to get back to work, the rowdy crow is yelling, "more wine, more wine!"
~ Old dog~

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hearts of gold

A friend of mine knows how much I love my yellow lab Molly. so she sent me this picture of a yellow lab sleeping in a flower planter. I think it proves the old saying that Labs have...."a head of stone, a stomach of iron and a heart of gold! They truly do exude love!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My First Vintage

This is my friend Frank or "Frankie" as we called him. He is responsible for my first soiree into wine making. He was a kind and gentile old man, that loved to work in his yard, tend his gardens and share a glass of wine with friends. His special vintage was dandelion wine and this was the first wine I ever made.

We would venture off into the countryside in search of fields, that have not been sprayed with herbicides, and full of dandelions. Frankie instructed me to pick only the yellow flowers and place them in a basket. No stems, because the stems would make the wine bitter.
This old timer knew how to forage. The flowers would be used for the making of wine and the green leaves  were collected and taken home to be sauted with a little olive oil and garlic to be enjoyed with crusty Italian bread, some provolone Cheese and of course a glass of wine.

We would pick two bushels of flowers. When we returned home, the flowers would be washed and the wine making process would begin. After washing the flowers they were placed into four large crocks and approximately ten gallons of hot water was poured over flowers. Next yeast was prepared and poured into the mix along with five pounds of sugar to each crock... and the fermentation begins. This is where one learns how to be patient. The fermentation process takes weeks, the mixture will ferment and bubble, the yeast converting the sugar to alcohol.

 Waiting is the hardest thing in the wine making process for a first time wine maker. You're excited and want to sample the fruits of your labor. I couldn't stand the anticipation any  longer, so after four weeks, I sampled the wine. "It was delicious".  The fermentation process was complete, "so I thought". I siphoned the wine into bottles and corked them.

Two weeks later explosions ripped through the cellar. It seems the fermentation was not finished and the pressure built up to the point of no return inside the corked bottles . Eighteen bottle ruptured sending wine and glass shards across the cellar. I approached the remaining 38 bottles with the caution of a bomb squad technician and uncorked them. The wine was poured back into the clean crocks and allow to complete the fermentation process. Four weeks later the bubbling stopped and now the wine was ready to be bottle.

If the explosion never happen I would not have come up with a proper name for this wine. Since it is dandelion wine and the explosion so severe...I named the wine Roar of the Lion.
Frankie past later that year, so every year on his birthday, I uncork a bottle of this wine and toast his memory. Sadly, I only have five bottles of this vintage left.
So to Frankie and all of you out there...Salute! May he smile down from heaven on us all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you Cherie for presenting me with this Stylish Blogger Award, It very rewarding to know that people  enjoy what is presented on my blog. I"ve always enjoyed making observation of  the world around me and I thank those that read my blog and make comments. To all my facebook friends: view the beautiful photographs on Cherie's blog and see the beauty of the world through another's eyes.

Now what I have to do are these 4 things:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Seven Things About Myself

1.I have a wonderful son and daughter.
2. I have learned life is too short to drink cheap wine!
3. I am a painter, sculptor and scientist... The Renaissance man.
4. I'm not bad in the kitchen and can prepare some darn good meals.
5. I am a dog lover.
6. I try to learn something new everyday.
7. I get to share everything in my life with my wife of thirty five years.

Now for the fun part.  I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Fence

I call this picture "snow fence" It may not be a particularly beautiful picture, but I think its interesting and sometimes interesting is better.

Horse Play Part 2

True love

Let it snow!


A happy time

And a good time was had by all!

Horse Play

 A good old fashion, nor'easter  can be dangerous. These blizzard can last for days and can bury us under feet of snow.   
We had another visit from the old man last night and he left us with twenty inches of snow.

After shoveling for six hours I finally could spend some time to enjoy the day. I paid a visit to my neighbors.

They are both accomplished equestrians. Their barn is adorned with the many ribbons they have won in competitions, but today was different, today was just fun and what they call good, old fashion horse play.
Make way for Comet

And the fun begins

Riding tall
 This was a fun afternoon. We survived another blizzard, cleared out from under tons of snow, spent time outdoors with friends and family. Now its time for hot coco with marsh mellows. Lets see what tomorrow will bring.
 Until then "Enjoy life",
~Old Dog~

Monday, January 10, 2011


My favorite place to walk is in the vineyard. Throughout the seasons, I will experience different feelings while  roaming through the vines. 

In the winter when the vines are exposed I experience a feeling of  being  well planned, organized and orderly. It's the same feeling an artist has just before he sets his brush to canvas.
I talk to the vines as I walk and I become attuned to my surroundings. The vines will speak and make suggestions as to how this years vintage should be handled and I listen.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Canis Major

Out past the city limits there is very little "light pollution"and it is much easier to view the night sky. Canis Major the greater dog and Canis minor can be seen at Orion's heels. These two constellations are known as Orion's Hunting dogs pursuing the Lepus the hare.
~Old Dog~
Canis Major
The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
with a star in one eye
gives a leap in the east

He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.

I'm a poor underdog,
But tonight I will bark.
with the great Overdog
that romps through the dark.
~ Robert Frost~

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Morning Mist

It was a balmy 50 degrees today,
resulting in a very foggy morning. Our small town, Scituate,  is where the reservoir for most of the states drinking water is located.

 On mornings like this, when the water temperature and the temperature of the air are different, a fog will emanate from the lake. This can have dramatic effects for those who take the time to stop and observe what nature provides. The town's name is derived from an Indian word meaning " Big Mist". It's not hard to understand what the Nipmunc  Indians were thinking when they named this area.

 At the break of dawn, the quiet can sometimes be deafening in a small town. The only sound today,  was the rush of the water falling over the horseshoe dam.l

This dam was designed to give the maximum surface area in a confined area so that a largest volume  of water could flow in such a small space. Hence, it's  shape a horseshoe.

 In fact the story or History of the Situate  reservoir is quite interesting.  Built in 1914, Seven whole villages were flooded to create the reservoir. All the Homes, Mills, and schools were destroyed and historic cemeteries moved to create the states water supply. But this is a story for another day. I'm just going to sit and listen to the water and soak in the views for a while .

~old dog~