MDA Auction

We gave a gift certificate for a two-night stay in our cottage for up to 4 people to the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon online auction ($200.00 value).  If you’re interested in bidding on this item, just click here.  There’s lots of other items too that you might want to check out even if you’re not interested in our cottage.  Cheers!

Labor Day Weekend Schedule & a Little Contest

**Congratulations Carol Weatherly for winning the four passes to Sunday’s music.  Just email or call me with the four names of the people coming, and I’ll add them to the pass list.  Thanks for playing!

Oh boy, we’re gonna have fun this weekend!  Come on out and join us – I guarentee great wine, neat people, and fabulous music each afternoon.  No reservations needed and picnic baskets are welcome (but our license does not allow for any other alcohol other than PBV wine to be consumed on the property).

Start out on Saturday and unwind to the tropical breezy music of Elliott Ranney from 1-4pm in our winegarden.

Then on Sunday, come out from 2-5 to check out Gumbohead:

These guys have the coolest Cajun & Blues in St. Louis, and we get to kick up our heels all afternoon with them!  There is a $5/person cover charge from 2-5pm on Sunday.

Of course we don’t want the fun to end, so Labor Day Monday we’ll be open from 10-5pm. Before you head home, come check out:

Mark Gordon from 1-4pm!  He LOVES requests, and HATES having to make decisions about what to play; so be sure to ask for your favorite blues, pop, folk or any other tune you can think of!

Finally, in honor of Labor Day Weekend, I’m holding another little contest.  Leave a comment on this post by Friday August 29, 2008 at 3pm (central time) telling me what your favorite Labor Day Weekend memory is.  I’ll use the random number generator to choose a winner and if you are chosen, you’ll win four free entries to see Gumbohead here on Sunday afternoon.  Woo Hoo!  I’ll post the results at the top of this entry by 5pm on Friday.

Sunday Crush

Sorry to not post sooner…..we had problems crushing on Sunday, and that spread a lot of the cleanup work into yesterday.  Needless to say, I’m just recovering and catching up today!

We ended up crushing just over 8 tons of Cayuga White grapes from Kingdom of Calloway Vineyard up in Fulton.  The first half of the day went relatively easily and we processed our first set of six bins without issues. Unfortunately, the second half of the day went a LOT slower.

I guess we wore out our tractor, because by the second bin in the afternoon, it decided not to lift anymore.  Fortunately, our neighbors, the Earharts, came to our rescue with their tractor!  We processed another bin, then our pump clogged up, so that took some time to figure out.  And of course the second half of the grapes would not all fit into the press, so we had to press out some juice before we could process the last bin of grapes. We started processing at 9am, and finished processing at 9pm, leaving the cleanup for yesterday.  I can tell you that I don’t think my bed has ever felt better!

Anyways, here’s a pictorial recap of Sunday (and my thanks to Terry for taking most of these photos):

There’s Clyde at the beginning of the day loading the first bin of grapes onto the bin dumper (with our tractor).  Bob is on the ground guiding him into place.

And once the bin was in place, we all took a look around to make sure everything was hooked up correctly.

Wheee…..there goes the first load of grapes into the crusher!  Hope the dumper holds up all that weight!

The view from above.  Clyde is operating the handle that tips the bin over.  The grapes don’t all come out completely so you see Bob at the lower right is using a rake to encourage the rest of the grapes into the destemmer.

Once destemmed and crushed, the grapes are then pumped into the yellow press.  Once the press is full (it holds about four tons of grapes when it’s full), we close the doors and turn it on.  As it rotates, two plates on the inside press all the juice out of the grapes. The juice is collected in the pan below, then pumped into tanks downstairs in our cellar.  Here, Clyde and Bob stop for a moment to talk and plan for the second half of the day.  Little did they realize what was to come.  Mmmwahahahahahaha!

While they babysat the press, I went to work cleaning out bins.  We like to get the juice and the extra pieces of skin, leaves, etc., rinsed out of the bins and cleaned up right away.  If we wait too long, well, let’s just say the grape juice is an effective glue!

After the bins were cleaned up, Clyde moved them all out of the way to get ready for the next batch of 6 coming.  Those arrived about 1pm.

Finally, there is the borrowed tractor that saved the day.  There I am on the right, wondering if I’m going to have to call our neighbors and tell them we are not giving them back their tractor.  heheh  It was a powerful machine (Clyde spent a few minutes yesterday finding out how much they cost…..I think he was almost sad to find out that our tractor is back to normal)!

Well, Sunday was one of the hardest first-day-of-crush we’ve experienced for several years.  The good news though is that the bin dumper sure does save a LOT of work, just as anticipated.  Now if everything else would just coorperate, we’d be on easy street!  Hah!

I cleaned the press yesterday, and Clyde spent the evening filtering the juice.  Then he inoculated it with yeast and today it’s fermenting away.  Smells pretty good so far!  Now for a nap……

Hope everyone out there had a great weekend, and that you can come for a visit soon!  Cheers!