Sunday, August 2, 2020

Weird Surprise in the Vineyard

Yesterday, it rained in the morning and then cleared and ended up being a steamy kind of day. The continuation of the hot, humid days are really no inducement for us to go back to the vineyard for the second shift. But, the vines called and we answered.
We are still shoot tucking, but now in our Chenin Blanc. My husband and I were working from the north end and tucking the shoots until we reached our marker for the half way point. We were doing the second alley and I was working my way back, when he said, "You need to see this!" The "this" was this. A perfectly laid row of some kind of eggs and then something kind of spiky on a trellis wire.
We took several pictures and went home to interrogate the internet for what this weird juxtaposition of eggs and spikes could be. Even after a few hours of searching, neither my husband nor I could come up with what this was. I then searched on "insect eggs in a row" and the first image to pop up was exactly what we took a photo of! We found the photo on The LarvalBug Bytes Archives and the site identified what we had as owlfly eggs!
The owlfly belongs to the order Neuroptera which also includes Antlions, Lacewings, Mantidflies and Allies. They belong to the family Ascalaphidae. The adult form kind of looks like a dragonfly. What is so exciting about finding these eggs, aside from the fact that they are so unusual looking, is that the larvae as well as the adult owlfly are voracious predators. The adult cruises the air, snatching and eating insects as they fly! In our book, an insect that eats other insects is a keeper!
References:
1. The LarvalBug Bytes Archives.
2. Information about the aborted owlfly egg is from Bug Guide.
3. Missouri Department of Conservation: Owlflies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Vintage 2020: Summer Heat Waves

I don't recall a summer where we have had so many heat waves. The first heat wave to hit us came in June. We are now into our fourth heat wave of the year.
  • June 20 -24
  • July 11 - 13
  • July 18 - 23
  • July 25 -
Here is a photo taken on July 20th indicating the feel-like temperatures. Even at 4:34 when this screen shot was taken, the feel-like temperature was at 99 degrees. We typically go to the vineyard for two shifts, one in the early morning and the second shift in the late afternoon, but temperatures approaching 100 degrees at 4:30 had us seeking refuge in an air conditioned room.
Today, however, we are back to "normal", with humidity at 46%, 82o feels like 84o. Today will be a two shifter!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

2017 Domaine Guiberteau Les Moulins

Last night, we had this 2017 Domaine Guiberteau Les Moulins. My first impression was that it tasted very much like our 2017 Chenin Blanc Sec that we make, which I call a wine that only a mother could like, let alone love. Our 2017 Chenin Blanc Sec is very acidic which is very much the style of this 2017 Les Moulins. In fact, when we first made our Chenin Blanc in 2015, it was very acidic so we went on a quest to educate our palates regarding Chenin Blanc styles and found that Guiberteau made a Chenin Blanc packed with acidity. Becky Wasserman described Romain Guiberteau's Chenin Blanc in these terms: "They are so uncompromising, so violently assertive, so brilliantly mineral" and "dry chenins of punk rock violence, yet of Bach-like logic and profoundness."
We had the 2017 Domaine Guiberteau Les Moulins with a caprese salad with fresh ripened tomatoes from the nearby Wehpittituck Farms run by our friend Jimmy Moran.
The combination of the wine and the Domaine Guiberteau Les Moulins was a refreshing repast on a hot, humid summer evening.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Leaf Pulling in the Cabernet Sauvignon

We have moved on from leaf pulling in the Chardonnay to leaf pulling in the Cabernet Sauvignon. We are also seeing some signs of poor fruit set like we saw in the Chardonnay, but not as extreme as in the Chardonnay. A little disheartening, but when we look over to the Chardonnay, even though the fruit set was not optimal, the clusters that we cleaned and kept have berries that have gotten quite large!
The weather has not been kind with feel like temperatures rising into the high 90's. So we adjusted our work schedule to accommodate Mother Nature, arriving early in the morning, working until noon and then coming back at 4 p.m. and working until 6 or 7 p.m. As one of our friends have remarked, this is a labor of love.
On this day, we worked some strange hours. We went to the vineyard at 7:30 quit at 10 a.m. and then went back at noon (what were we thinking?) and worked until 4. That gave my husband time to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things in order to use the squash blossoms that our friends gave us.
Here is the dinner he made. Squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses topped with marinara sauce.
I will call that one happy ending!