Before we get into the upcoming 2019 harvest, we want to make sure you’re aware of the upcoming End of Summer Side Walk Sale in Amador City, coming up Sat Aug 31 and Sun Sep 1
It’s been a busy season and literally the fruits of our labors are ready to be harvested. Most of the grapes have now turned purple (verasion) and are building up sugar. We’re checking the sugars frequently.
To check sugar levels, we take a handful of ripe grapes and crush them, then dab some of that juice onto the plate of a handheld device called a refractometer. It measures the sugar content of the juice. Just as we use gallons to measure quantities of liquids, we use “brix”, to measure sugar levels.
The sugar level we aim for depends on what the winemaker is planning for the wine-style. During the fermenting process sugar turns into alcohol. Thus sugar content at harvest ultimately determines the alcohol content once the juice of the crushed grapes has fermented.
For Rose/white or sparkling wine, the sugar content is lower than for red wine. So far we have tested the Syrah and she is getting close – a small test sample indicates the sugars are at about 20 Brix.
Syrah is the first varietal that we harvest and that normally happens the last week of August or the first week in September. I think we’re on track and should harvest in the next 2 weeks. But, it will depend on the brix and also the pH (ideally around 3.5) of the sample and anything can happen. The sugar accumulation may stall, or increase rapidly, so as it gets close, it becomes a daily activity of testing the sugars,
Interested in learning more about the intricacies of harvest? Stop by the tasting room Fri – Sun, taste the wines of our previous harvest and learn more about the upcoming harvest.