Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Vilafonte 'Grape Chemistry' Blog - day 24


The cool and the warm..
Last week, as previously reported, it was cool. We had 2 days of light rain, 1 cloudy day and one national holiday. This left everyone with little time for harvest, which was not a big problem, since the weather was cool and the grapes were in good condition. It became a problem, however, this week. On Sunday and Monday, Mother Nature reversed herself and sent hot weather rather than cool. The grapes were not pleased. We saw some dehydration and increase in Brix. Suddenly, everyone needs to harvest everything!! Actually, last Thursday I looked at the phenolic samples taken that day. These samples record tannin and color, and at the same time are checked for grape chemistry. I was delighted to see the results; our grape "ripeness chemistry" was excellent - the relation of Brix, acid and pH, and color and tannin. And we were getting ripeness at lower sugars than 2005.If I had control of the weather I would have ordered a week of mild days, say 75 - 80 F. Winemakers always yearn for control of weather. It did not come to me. So now, everything is ready, to come in, and indeed we will be will be going full speed with harvest this week. Meanwhile, we are working very long days.

Today Julie, and friend and visitor Mary Ann Graf from California, worked from 8 am to 6 pm, in the vineyard, sorting grapes as they were harvested into our bins. In the heat, some small clusters had shriveled and needed to be discarded. Tonight (starting 9 p.m.) we will crush these, and Bernard and I will be sorting clusters for the final touch up. And so it will go all week.

Zelma Long

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