|Monday August 20, 2001
11:00 Am Harvest is near. Brendan just came back with sugar samples from our Sauv Blanc. We had close to 18% (brix) last Monday, but today we got a reading of 20.5 on the bottom section where we want most of our grapes for the winery. The top section, where Julia from Lambert Bridge will be making wine from, had a reading of 22.5. Brendan and I have decided to aim for a sugar reading of 21.5 to 22 brix so it appears that we may be harvesting tomorrow. I have sent him out again to take another sample from both areas so we won't be making a mistake. I can't remember how much fruit there is from all of the bottom, but it seems that we may take part of the fruit from the top section to average out. I have decided to produce about 300 cases of sauv blanc this year which will equate to about 5 tons of grapes.
These high sugar readings are not surprising since we have been getting some high daytime temperatures in the last several days. We had readings of 100 on Thursday and Friday and a high of 102 on Saturday. Yesterday we did cool down to 95 and the fog came in this morning. The sun came out about 10 am so we probably still get up to 90 today. Our nighttime lows during this period have ranged from a low on Friday morning of 47 and a low this morning of 52. These extreme highs and lows have contributed to the escalating brix readings.
1:00 PM Well guess what? Brendan just came back with lower numbers. The bigger sugar sample on our sauv blanc showed 21.0% from the top and only 20.0 on the bottom. Also the sample of juice we sent to Julia showed a PH of 2.95 which is way too much acid at this time. So we will take another sample next Monday and hope that the acids have come down. We may have to pick at higher sugars in order to lower the acid.
Friday August 24, 2001
Do we pick or don't we pick? That is the question! On Monday and Tuesday it was cool, but by yesterday the temperatures warmed up again and today we have hit 95. I tested our first two bunches of Zinfandel and came in with 24%. That is where we want to pick, but there are many bigger bunches that will not be ready until at least another week. We have made tentative arrangements to pick our Sauv Blanc on Monday and Tuesday. We just today poured a small drainage area in order to collect the juice from our new press. The press came a little lower than our old press (not my fault) so we had to either raise our new press which would probably be expensive or put our catch basket down below along side our lawn area. By pouring a concrete pad that was sloped to drain we will be able to screen out the skins and seeds and also clean and collect any debris and water at an even lower place (more concrete to follow). We even left indentations in the concrete for the wheels of the collector so that it won't move during the pressing cycles. There is a bigger reservoir that sits right under the the press, but It doesn't filter out seeds and skins well. We can then pump to our tank or barrels from down in this lower collecting basket. Here is a picture of what I have been trying to describe. You can see the implanted wheel and the screen that sits on the top of the collector (click here for a larger view; and check out the 2001 Harvest Gallery from time to time.).
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