We continue to tie up new plants and maintain trellises in all vineyards. We are starting preventative maintenance on all harvest equipment. And, spraying for fungus is never ending.
Last week, we undertook our first harvest estimate of the season. We will update this estimate two more times before harvest. Here are the steps that this process requires:
1. We select ten vines at random from each block (more or less depending on block size).
2. We count the clusters.
3. And select one cluster and weigh it.
4. We average the total weight of the clusters from the ten vines.
5. At this point, we enter this weight data into a spread sheet that contains the formulas that will calculate the total project weight of the fruit at harvest.
6. We repeat this process for each variety in each block at each vineyard.
Usually, we are high by 10–20% with our first harvest estimate. That won’t be terrible this year because we are expecting a record harvest and have limited tank space.
Our grapes are just starting through Veraison. Visually, red grapes that are still green start to turn purple while green grapes used to make white wine turn from a milky green to a yellowish, almost translucent green. Grapes also start to soften up. Chemically, the malic acid levels start to decline and sugar starts to form in the grape. Depending on the grape variety, we’d like to see the sugar at somewhere between 17 and 22% by weight. During fermentation, we’ll convert the sugar to alcohol. We’d like to see the malic acid levels under 10 grams per liter and all of that reduction in malic acid will take place between now and harvest.