I am participating in the American Cancer Society’s “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign this year to help raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. I am doing this both because I believe the ACS has and is making a huge difference in the battle to save the lives of women from breast cancer, and also because my life has been personally touched by this disease: my older sister is a breast cancer survivor.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women who currently have a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer, and 41,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2018. By raising awareness about prevention and early diagnosis, as well as providing caretaking, free transportation and reduced hotel rates for patients receiving treatment, the ACS helps both patients and caretakers. The ACS has funded $46 billion in cancer research since 1946 and currently has $62 million currently invested in breast cancer research. This has helped the death rate from breast cancer drop by 39% between 1989 and 2015 which translates to saving 322,6000 lives.
I am reaching out to you, my community of personal, business and wine-loving friends and professionals to help me, the ACS and all women who have been or could potentially be affected by this disease to contribute to my “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign. I will be wearing pink every day for the month of October and you are all welcome to visit me in the winery as proof! Any amount you can contribute is gratefully accepted, I offer some extra motivation for you to dig deeper…
- For each $100 contributed, you will get a ticket for a raffle to win a Jeroboam (3L) of our most highly coveted wine, Solesce. The winner will be announced at the end of the campaign.
- The third biggest donor to my campaign which requires a minimum bid of $250 will enjoy a private tasting at Brian Carter Cellars for 6 persons. I will personally lead you through the wines and will provide some special food pairings to bring out the best in the wines. Expect some special library treats.
- The second highest donor which requires a minimum bid of $500 will receive a 6-bottle vertical of Brian Carter Cellars Solesce including 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, all sold out and highly sought after.
- The top donor with a minimum donation of $1,500 will enjoy a dinner for 6 at my darling Karen’s home on Portage Bay (several of you can band together for this one!). Karen and I will offer 5 courses expertly paired with wines from Brian and Karen’s cellars, both vintage Brian Carter Cellars wines as well as European wines.
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You can also follow me on Instagram! Spread the word and the posts…the more folks who are involved the greater is our impact!
Kind thanks in advance,
Brian Carter, Winemaker
Having just returned from the vineyards in Eastern Washington, I can report that veraison is underway. Veraison is when grape berries change color and texture on their way to ripening. Before veraison, the berries are hard and green, while after the berries are soft and red or light yellow, depending on the grape variety. This transformation is much easier to see in red varieties where it is easy to see the percentage of berries have changed color. In the picture to the left, about half the berries are either starting or are through the process of veraison. This picture was taken at Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, where veraison was the most advanced of the ten vineyards I visited this week.
Veraison can be a critical time for winemakers and growers. It marks an essential transition for the ripening process. There are a couple of thoughts on how long it takes between veraison and harvest, all of which depend on the area, weather and the grape variety. Some people say six weeks is a good measure, but it indeed can be longer or shorter. In any case, it is time to start getting the picking bins and tanks ready; harvest is right around the corner!
Veraison can also be an important time to start the process of ‘green thinning.’ Winemakers and growers work together to determine if the vine is in balance: is there the appropriate amount of crop on the vine for the fruit to ripen in a timely way and maximize quality? If the crop is too large, this is a particularly good time to trim some of the clusters as it is easy to see which ones are lagging behind. When the greener clusters are thinned in favor of the redder ones, it evens out the ripeness of the clusters on the vine and is an important quality consideration as it will lead to more uniformly ripe clusters when picked. Some varieties tend to ripen more evenly than others, so this process is more important in varieties that tend to have uneven ripeness such as Petit Verdot. It is important to time ‘green thinning’ so that you can see the lagging green clusters. Often this is when about 80% of the berries have completed veraison. On my latest trip, most of the vineyards were still little early for green thinning to occur. I will be returning in a few weeks to walk the vines and talk to the growers on how to proceed.
~Brian Carter, Winemaker