As the grapes ripen in the weeks leading up to Harvest, things really start to escalate on the home front with shuttling kids to hockey tournaments and pool training sessions. But we’re still at the winery every weekend to keep our vision alive. One foot in the City, one foot in the County.
So this past weekend, after many wonderful people enjoyed some Pinot Noir in our store, we trotted out to the vineyard to take some samples. We’re testing the sugar levels in the grapes now with great interest. One hundred berries from each variety are picked into zip lock bags. We smush them up to get some juice, make sure it’s well mixed, and then carefully smear a drop of juice on a refractometer. This nifty contraption tells us the sugar levels.
Our four-year-old vines had sugars around 18 Brix, which is on track for 20+ at harvest time. But the six-year-old Pinot Noir in our front vineyard had zoomed up to 21 Brix. That’s amazing, but a little worrisome. It means it could likely be harvested a week early. When Pinot Noir is ripe, you pick it. It’s not something you leave on the vines too long! We don’t want Brix too high, because all that sugar can make a “hot” alcoholic wine. With a bit of fortune, however, this could be a really nice crop with our best sugars ever. Our magic number for Brix is 22.3, which gives us about 12.5% alcohol.
Botrytis and sour rot. I noticed signs of each developing in some spots. Unchecked, each of these could mean last minute ruin of a season’s good intentions. But that’s to be expected; when we hand harvest we’ll be careful to pick only the nice grapes for our wine, and leave the rest to the birds.
Fortunately, a glorious stretch of Autumn weather is forecasted in the run up to Harvest. The damp weather seems to have abated, and with some luck the crop should still be in great shape by October 5.
Join us at Harvest — we always need volunteer pickers! If you are interested email us at firstname.lastname@example.org