Friday, August 22, 2008

Sparkling Wine Grape Harvest Has Begun in Napa

I never realized when I closed my last posting a week ago that the harvest of grapes for sparkling wine production would begin within hours! The photo above was taken earlier this week in Napa Valley. These are some of the first grapes of the season...Chardonnay that will go into Domaine Montreaux, a wonderful small batch Napa bubbly. Kevin Corley is shown here inspecting some of the first picking bins to go into the winery just after dawn.

I was photographing vineyard landscapes in Alexander Valley, over the hill in Sonoma County, when I got the word from Chris Corley that they would be pressing grapes this week. It seems like just a couple of months ago that I was photographing 'bud break' in some of these same vineyards. Just rows away from where we were picking... small pockets (maybe 1 -2 %) of red grapes are still completing veraison! The sugar levels in these Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir) grapes that will go into a sparkling wine cuvee are much lower than they will be when the regular (still wine) harvest begins in a few weeks.
Even though it did not take long to complete picking and pressing it was the sure sign that things are about to get crowded around the crush pad. For the wine exhibit...every aspect of the 'winegrowing' season will be photographed. There are few times in the year more exciting to be around a winery than at harvest stay tuned to the upcoming posts!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Matter of Inches

We had a short window of access into the Ansary Gallery of The George Bush Presidential Library & Museum to take all measurements we will need for drawing up Wine Exhibit floor plans prior to the NASA Space Exhibit moving into the gallery. Rarely is this gallery totally empty and we had to take advantage of this opportunity. We met Library Curator Susie Cox on Saturday morning and began measuring. All but a few measurements were completed and noted...the other few were finished today. This task is now complete.

These measurements will enable the 'exact' to be melded into my 'concept' in the production of the exhibit. Just looking at the preliminary sketches done by Engineering Tech Bing Djie, it is reassuring to begin to see the level of accuracy that will be carried from tape to pen, (or CAD) to paper, to the saws, the hammers and finally the installation of all the exhibit elements.

Now I can turn my focus back on the exhibit photography and multimedia production.

Harvest is just around the corner...and I only have the next 8 to 10 weeks to complete all harvest photography and filming for the exhibit. Back to the airport...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Week of Photography

The morning fog in the vineyards was beautiful this week. Most of the grapes have completed veraison and the vines seem to be entering a more mature stage showing nice fruit and taking on character. The photograph above was taken in Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Shortly after the photo was taken, the cool fog burned off, and the elements that formed to create a magical morning scene quickly yielded way to a warm sunny day. I shot four or five hundred photos earlier this week for the multimedia applications that will be part of the wine exhibit. Most of the photos were detail shots in the vineyard but I also did some cellar photography in Napa.

Working in a vineyard at sunrise is very special. You can see so much life there, but not just of the human form... I routinely see jackrabbits, foxes, deer, wild hogs, hawks, quail and waterfowl. For me, this melding of the flora and fauna in the vineyard is just one aspect of diversity and balance in winemaking and in life. In another month the pickers will be out in the vineyards at dawn...working as man has for centuries harvesting the fruit of the vine.