Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Work Today

Drove with Chris to Dundee to get some Pinot samples.


Dan is one of the partners in this fermentation venture. Here's us
pouring the Petit Sirah must into a carboy for settling. It was just
at 5 brix (% sugar), so it'll keep fermenting for a bit. Transfering
before complete dryness ensures a good co2 environment. It's gonna be
a tasty beast!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hydrometer Tests

We try to check the sugar percentage each day or so to see how the
fermentation is coming along. The lowest count is 3% in one bin and
the highest is 12% in the bin that we cold soaked for 3 days.

Adam gets in town Thursday night and we are scheduled to press on
Friday morning. Should be fun.

Friday, September 25, 2009


So to homebrewers this probably looks like racking. Which it is. But
with fermenting musts, it's called Delestage. It's the slow process of
draining the juice and then returning it so as to oxygenate the must.

2 of our 5 bins are producing a lot of H2S which smells like eggs.
Yum. No big. But time to address the prob.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


3-4 times a day, Dan and I take sugar and temperature readings to see
how fermentation is going. We also stick our arms in and remix the
juice and skins/seeds. Because fermentation creates co2, it's bubbles
push the solids to the top. Punchdown mixes everything back together
so we can hopefully achieve a properly extracted Zin.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cold Soak

We are cold soaking one of the batches. This means getting the
temperature below 50' for a few days so as to inhibit fermentation and
allow time to sit and extract certain flavor and mouthfeel elements.

We tried to simply use ice in bags but eventually we stepped up and
bought dry ice. Hence the witch's brew!


Here are the four yeast strains we are using.

I, Chemist

Brix seem to be very high...27.5'. We will probably need to add water
and acid to bring it all into balance.

Greatness in Wait

It all is still. Bins washed. Grapes turned into juice. 1 of 5 cold
soaking. Another 1 of 5 a fortunate bunch of Petit Sirah. Tomorrow I
aim to collaborate with the yeast after making some measurements.
Tonight we all sleep. Much work to be done. Much work to be done.

A great evening with friends. A great wine awaits us 18 months from now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Deed is Done

The Stage is Set

Now we wait for the delivery of the grapes. 9pm estimate. Should be
followed by 1-2 solid hours of work and drinking.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nicest Spam I've Ever Received

Got this in my inbox this morning. No link to click on, no banner, and the website seems invalid anyway. Well, how do you like that? [Said like Ed Norton in Death to Smoochy]

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Images/Art Dealing With Community

Think in a broad sense here. Community could mean people, bacteria, plants, etc.

We're working on the latest CONSP!RE and the artwork I'd love to curate would deal with community on a sort of subversive level. If you have anything you think we should check out or anything that you'd like to submit, please do email me here ASAP.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Thom Yorke Ain't Got Nothin' on Me

Well, he might, but I can pull off his do without seeming like a crazy

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Here are some hops I found laying in the middle of the road on the way to the winery the other day. They grow in vines and this is almost a whole mature vine. Basically a crapload of hops.

Thinking of making an IPA with fresh hops.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

(non) Hiatus

It's been a stellar summer. Wow. It's just been non-stop.

Since we returned from our European odyssey, we have had different folks staying with us almost every day. I bet we've had a combined 20 days of time "to ourselves" since we've been back...and we got back more than 4 months ago! It's been wonderful, having people from all over the world and all across the nation staying with us. We love sharing our life, our space, and our experiences with those we are connected to.

But we're tired. And we're generally ready for summer to wrap up and send us into the calm of autumn, where kids are back to school (and Pax will most likely start pre-school about 3 blocks from here) and lives are "back to normal." Of course, what is normal?

There are weeds to be weeded, fruit to be picked, neighbors to reconnect with, wine to be made, and a baby to be birthed.

But before we enter this next season, perhaps some reflection on what our summer was like...

We (Brittian, Holly and I) hosted 3 HOMESPUN house shows. Each one was amazing and wonderful. We had between 50-80 people at each show. And everyone seemed to have a good time, squeezed into our downstairs and listening to great music while drinking my homebrew. The Cobalt Season even played some songs for the second show. It was great to play music with Holly and Daniel again. And yes, Daniel Dixon relocated to Portland and got a house with Amos.

Dan and Bethany moved up here and are now renting our basement apartment. That has been so wonderful. They are dear friends and love Pax so much. It's great having them around.

I took a part-time job at a winery (thanks to a Craigslist forward from Joel Brady) near Salem (about 1 hour from here). I help them out, pouring and selling wine 2 days a week at local farmer's markets...and by spending a day a week at the winery, assisting however I can...washing barrels, transferring wine, tasting, blending, making chemical solutions, etc. It's been a great fit. Arcane Cellars is a small-batch family-owned winery and each of us there (only about 4) kinda do everything. It's been great to be in the mix.

We re-launched SharpSeven and continue to try to get the word out about our services.

Holly continues to be more and more pregnant. The baby should be here any day...well, he should be here in another 2 months. Don't tell her that's a long time! We're expecting Remy (the name we've settled on) in early November or perhaps even late October.

Dan, Adam and I are making a batch of wine this fall. I secured a 1/2 ton of grapes from eastern WA, piggybacking on the order of a winery. Grapes should arrive later this month and fermentation will begin. I'm geeking out on different yeast strains (we'll use 4 in total) and oak barrels (I got one from our winery that was neutral and took it to a cooper to have it shaved out and re-toasted). Gonna be epic!

The garden did well and we had a great summertime harvest. Several tomatoes still ripening. Soon our figs will be ready, and the pears continue to ripen and drop. I have loved all the green, but now I look forward to a blank slate in the back. Time to lay some compost and add some wood chips around the house to suppress the weeds.

I have been writing some music and doing a few interviews here and there. Perhaps we'll work on a new album in 2010. Not sure what to call it...perhaps Space Odyssey? Or would that be The Year We Make Contact?

Life here is more complex and rich than I could have expected. We're only about 2 weeks away from our 1-year anniversary of moving in. We feel very connected, loved, and busy as hell.

On the point of busy-ness or business, SharpSeven has had a fairly slow year. That has been both good and bad. Not making money is seldom good, but luckily the winery job has helped supplement some income. Our regular clients have been our lifeblood this year. I am grateful for that. So grateful. (And, of course, friends renting space from us is sort of a double-bonus.) But seriously, if you're in need of some design work, please visit our website or email us or give us a call.

I think Holly and I are both looking forward to the cooling of the temperatures and the shortening of the days, the falling of the leaves and the changing of the smells. Autumn is our advent. The earth prepares for the long sleep of winter. I need some hibernation myself, some reflection, some lonely-time.