Tighten the press! Pressed remains, a grape cake. Zak breaks the cake. Anthony, Rafael and Zak throw the crumbled cake away.

 

Am I the only one lamenting the diminishing daylight?  Month by month, our light has flattened out low over the southern horizon and slowly reduced the size of its arc.  The front picnic area no longer has any sun after 11AM as the winery roof now shades what used to be in blazing sun all day.  And the patio, which used to heat up by noon won’t see sun until about 2PM, then it disappears, pffft, by 5PM.  Today’s very chilly morning caused the frost  preventing inversion fans throughout the Valley to roar, clattering to life at 3:34AM.  Welcome to the brink of winter; now close the bedroom window!

The cellar, which was August’s oasis of cool, is now an oasis of warm.  While we’ve been waiting for the new wines to wend their way through the final malo-lactic fermentation, a great deal of cleaning and organizing has been going on, and we’ve laid plans for next year’s club shipments, wine competitions, and some off-site events.  Additionally, some of the special projects we started in September have been completed, yielding excellent results.  The experimental lot of barrel-fermented Clone 6 was drained and pressed off today, our very last pressing of this harvest.

Are you familiar with the statue on the hill at the south end of Napa?  If you’ve visited the Valley coming in from route 80, you might have seen the iconic “Grape Crusher” statue next to the bridge on route 29.  A man is bent forward grasping a lever, with his raised foot braced against the press frame, struggling  to pull the press screw tighter, to get the last drop of juice.  We used the exact same old-fashioned basket press, if not the technique, to gently squeeze the Clone 6.  No doubt the resulting wine will become one of the several  that we make in such small production that it will only go to club members.

Holiday shipping dates have been thrown askew with the arrival of sustained freezing weather through-out most of the central US.  If you are considering having BELLS on the table during the holidays (after all, where’s the jingle without the BELL?), please call us at the winery to get the latest information on shipping arrangements that will best protect the wine and get it there on time.

Enjoy the holiday vortex!
Cheers, from all of us at Bell Wine Cellars