Saturday, February 04, 2006

Vilafonte 2006 Harvest Blog #1

This Blog's for you…

…for all of you who are curious, intrigued, or passionate about winemaking, wine growing, wine in general, South Africa and South African wine.

…it will track grapes from our site through to the wine.

…it will introduce (tomorrow) the "cast of characters" who touch the grapes and wine at one time or another and who help mold its characters.

…it will follow the winegrapes of Vilafonte Vineyards, a 30 acre vineyard located in the Paarl (Pearl) appellation of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Pre harvest jitters
Growing and harvesting wine is a dance with Mother Nature. Right now it's a fast dance; harvest nerves are tightly wound; we have had almost two weeks of very warm and windy weather; sugars (measured as Brix) in the grapes are skyrocketing.

Phil (one of the cast), who has been watching harvests for 30 years, has never seen vines produce sugar in the grapes at the rate off 1 Brix (% sugar) every three days, for this long. This is faassstttt.

Sugars predict potential alcohol but aren't directly related to what we all care about…flavor, good concentration (power); good balance (of alcohol acid and tannin); soft tannins…fleshy texture. The yum factor.

The wind here is "blowing like stink". Winemakers and winegrowers are pacing the vineyards. Pick now before sugars are too high? Or wait for ripe flavors and risk higher alcohols? How to make everyone happy in this dance????

More tomorrow.

Zelma Long

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