Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summertime fun

The days are flying by and although it still feels like summer in Santa Cruz, it is already mid September, the best time of year.  It was just my birthday and the weather has been amazing, with the summer traffic and visitors gone from the coast, it has become a locals town.  Small town beach vibe, with no traffic and lot of good vibes.  I thought I'd put up a few photos from the summer, out and about having fun in California.  Been a great one and it has no end of stopping.

Eric and Mary visit from Portland and we hit up the Boardwalk

Hiking in Big Sur with my housemate Cara

Hanging with good friends during my visit to Portland, here at the waterfront Beer Festival

Outside the community market where I work and get things smooth

Meeting Charlie Brown, the legend!
Driving through Sonoma County wine tasting with two Australian mates

Beer tasting up at Lagunitas Brewery

Keep squeezing that juice!

Round two working on the Zinfandel grapes entailed draining all the liquid out of the vat to be stored into 12 wine barrels.  It was quite the magenta bright purple color, not the average wine color.  Give it time, some oak barrel action and it might just get there.  Of course, in the tasting room they are still serving 2011 and 2012 varieties, so this won't be on the shelves any time soon.  But when it is, drink up a glass of Justus-made Zin!

Just liquid this time through
 After we got the liquid out, it was time to get the grapes out for pressing.  Not the easiest task, and definitely not automated.  Pretty much there were several hundred pounds still in there that had to come out and after using a rake and shovel to get over half out, it was time to go inside.  Shelly drew the short straw and climbed inside the vat, to move the grapes towards the opening where I could get them out.  She emerged later on, a wee bit pinker and smelling of that strong carbon dioxide that the grapes give off when fermenting.  Quite powerful to go with a slight warmth that emits from the grapes.
Time to get those grapes out!

After the manual labor to get the grapes out, it was on to the expensive grape presser from Europe that efficiently squeezes all the juice possible out of the grapes.  Efficient, but lengthy in time (1.5 hours), the machine filled up an extra 4 barrels of wine.  And what was left was just the grape skins, seeds and some stems.  Looked an awful lot like raisins, except not as sweet or juicy.
Presser in action