The last ton of grapes is safely in the winery, and in celebration of the end of the 2019 harvest Hydeout Sonoma hosted a BBQ lunch for the whole hard-working winery team. The joke is that ‘it takes a lot of beer to make good wine’, and in this case, yes, guilty as charged. That, and many many hamburgers. In the featured cover photo, from left to right – Señors Altuve, Edgardo, Ricardo, Jose, Rex, Miguel, Ken, and Sebastian.
Grape harvest – cover crop seed
Once the harvests are completed, and winemaking chores are put to bed, it’s time to spread cover crop seed in the vineyard. We do this to secure the precious soil from runoff and add nutrition, break down clay, provide nematode suppression, and add beauty. Here in the back of our Polaris Ranger are a couple of 50 pound bags of “Brassica mix” – 40% Nemagon mustard, 30% common mustard, 15% Canola, and 15% daikon radish. This fast growing cover crop has the ability to produce up to 4 tons of bio-matter per acre!
Then just like clockwork, it’s time to start harvesting the ripe olives for oil. Cynthia and Martin start the long hard process of hand-harvesting.
Here I am up in the olive tree getting the last fruit from the top of the tree.
Fog over head, still early in the morning and just getting started, we examine the fruit for quality and celebrate being underway. Farming, growing things organically, trying to live somewhat off the land, all a real pleasure.
All done, about 500 pounds, equals about 7 gallons of extra virgin oil.
Olives loaded into the hopper, then cleaned and ready for the mill. Proprietor Frank Figone met us at the loading dock and supervised the press.
The big payoff – the start of a small stream of extra virgin oil exits the press.
The finished product – 4.3 gallons of extra virgin olive oil…
For more information – Click here to visit the Figone Olive Oil website
Figone’s is a great place to shop, in person or online, for delicious authentic olive oil products!
And in other Hydeout Sonoma Farms and Dysfunctional Family Winery news…
Our final harvest from the Hydeout Sonoma gardens – the last of the tomatoes and peppers, these are mainly Early Girl, Better Boy, and Roma tomatoes along with Shishito and Padron peppers.
Ripening Persimmon – colorful, and famously packed with lots of vitamin C. Just in time to prevent winter colds.
After the grape and olives and garden harvests, it’s time for a little fun – a game Jenga ends in a pile of blocks – with Paige Locke, Gail Diserens, Cynthia Wornick, and Elaine Smith looking on.
Finally, some time off – heading down the coast on Highway One from Sonoma on our way to Los Angeles.
And 5 days later we turned north and pointed the bike towards Death Valley (see the sign).
As the weather cools, our estate Sagrantino vineyard shows off its fall colors…two chemicals are responsible for the fall coloration of leaves, carotenoids create orange and yellow pigments, and anthocyanins create shades of red and purple. The carotenoids are present in the leaf all summer long, but they’re masked by the green of chlorophyll.
…the harvest moon rises over Sonoma Valley.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Despite what seems like turmoil everywhere, the great majority of us are blessed with ample food, clothing, shelter, and love. And for those that are not, we are all doing our best to help. Thank goodness we are not living in a time of widespread famine and disease. Let’s celebrate all that is good. Warmly. Ken