New friends from New Jersey, who happen to know our daughter Kate, enjoyed a typically lovely fall day in the Napa Valley with us last month. The photo was cropped primarily to show (some of) the bottles involved, but there's no way to change those happy smiles without professional software. Shameless commerce, as a Magliozzi brothers would say.
Thanks for asking. It's been a very good harvest. A sound, reasonably sized, crop that matured steadily on the vine and is expected to produce some delicious red wines for us to enjoy in the not-very-near future. Keep an eye on the 2013 vintage. And picture yourselves doing what we're doing.
This is about one-fourth of today's haul, the third time in two months we've picked bags of ripe lemons from our orchard of two prolific dwarf trees. The paler fruits are Meyer lemons, the darker ones Eureka. Picking is dangerous work because the branches have nasty spikes hiding behind the leaves. Puncture wounds abound.
In spite of giving away a whole shopping bag full today, the daunting prospect of juicing all those lemons remains.
We severely pruned the trees immediately after this bountiful harvest.
An artful look at another pile of today's citrus harvest.
After I finish juicing the lemons, Mr. Villa Ragazzi plans to use the squeezed lemon rinds to make his own version of limoncello. This involves a significant volume of vodka. He will have more fun than me.
Maybe I'll just open a bottle of Faraona, put my feet up for a while and let my wounds heal. And think about all the lovely lemon curd I'll be making for friends and family.
Limoncello can wait.
Unlike the grapes, our Meyer lemon tree is loaded this year. This is its second crop in 2011 and I'm wondering if all that fruit will ripen by December, the usual harvest time.
While it's glorious to have free, fresh, tree-ripened lemons at hand, it's a bit challenging when they all ripen at once. My solution is to squeeze and freeze in ice trays, then move to ziplocs for storage, providing a year-round source of fresh-frozen Meyer lemon juice. Thank you for the hint, Heloise.
Thanks for your interest, all who have asked, but we're still waiting to pick the 2011 Sangiovese. Indian summer helping...
On the other hand, we successfully harvested the Pinot Gris (which we sell to Mumm for its sparkling wine cuvées) and Sauvignon Blanc (sold to Honig), both before the first rains. That's the good news. The bad news -- there's always something in agriculture -- is that we got considerably less than half a "normal" crop. Ouch.