Monday, June 20, 2005

Time for more book-smartz.

When you have a resource like UC Davis so close, you just have to take advantage of it. So much knowledge and experience available to the public. For Agriculture instruction and viticulture and enology in particular, Davis is second to none.

Last year, I took one of their weekend extension courses on vineyard management. What a treat that was. It was like summer camp for grown ups. The instructors, Donna Hirschfelt and Ed Weber, are both farm advisers from Davis who spend most of their time with their boots in the dirt, advising real growers with real problems. Their series of classes is called Small Vineyard Management and is made up of 4 classes, split up over the year dealing with topics applicable for that time of the year. I was hoping to take the next in their series which deals with Integrated Pest Management, Crop Cover and Erosion control. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts prevents me from taking that class.

Instead of the Small Vineyard Management class, I am going to be taking one of the Wine Making classes. The class will be taught by Ernie Farinias. He is a very experienced winemaker and the wine/cellar master at Davis with over 30 years experience in the wine industry. The class is a step by step course in winemaking. So, although I have experienced doing that with my own wines, now I can find out all the things I should have done. The class will focus on the first few days of the pick and crush. Three consecutive classes over two weekends. Day 1 - Crush red and white grapes. Day 2 - Rack and press and then the next weekend, rack again.

The course description describes using "traditional and non-traditional methods". I am not sure exactly what that means, but I have a feeling I should wash my feet real well the night before because I may be stomping.
I will keep you informed.

Unfortunately, the laws prevent students from ever taking their wine home. So we will have to find a similar vintage and pretend.



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