On Farming and Winemaking:
It is said that farmers do not grow plants. They grow dirt. And that is correct. Yes, they tend plants and that is important, but the plants know what to do, and growing plants is secondary to growing good dirt. Our South African Peppadew peppers are still chugging away outside, turning a new set of peppers red every week or so (when I pick and pickle them), laughing at the ridiculous improbability that it is still sunny and warm and dry on October 27??? But it's the dirt--the mix of compost, manure tea, other organic material, and native soil, and sand, and gravel, that makes earthworms and microbes and the peppers' roots happy.
In the same way, winemakers do not really make wine. Winemakers grow yeast. And if we create a good environment for yeast, they make wine for us. Yes, understanding the chemistry, and intervening in different ways when necessary, are important, but those are secondary to growing yeast. Some winemakers just cut open a yeast packet and dump the yeast on the pomace, thinking the yeast will find their way to the wine and do their job, and in trruth they probably will, but that is like unloading your high school soccer player ten miles away from the game, without having fed him lunch or dinner before the game, and telling him, "Good luck!" I've researched yeast-growing for many years, and have written a pamphlet for winemakers explaining how to treat yeast, and why. If your yeast grow throughout the grape juice rapidly, and start fermenting earlier, then you have just radically reduced the time during which bad things can happen to your wine. 'Nuff said.
Look for the new wine offer coming soon, and in the meantime please enjoy this truly spectacular Fall!
And to anyone in the ether who may read this: I am a virtual wine retailer (no shop, so low overhead and low prices), and a small commercial winery (Epona brand). If you would like to be added to my email list, please email me at email@example.com . And there is never an obligation to buy anything. Thank you!
The photo is of the lovely Epona Vineyard this week, near Woodland WA.