Monday, 7 September 2009

The grapes, the samples and the Baumé

After a weekend off, I took the time at lunch to have a look at the grapes in the vineyard and take some samples for testing. I've identified two potentially different sites: one is by the pilgrim trail, dropping down the slope in a westerly direction, the other is on the southern side of the vineyard, by the trees.

Accordingly, I've taken two seperate samples of grapes from each area, making sure to pick grapes from bunches around the vines and from different vines. Also making sure I pick the Verdejo and not the Malvasia, which I reckon I've got the hang of now.

The grapes are popped into a plastic bag in which, on return, they are split and the resulting juice poured onto a handheld refractometer.

My theory of two different sites was proved correct. The 'normal' site shows a Baumé of 11.5 (21 Brix) and the area by the trees gives me 11.1 Baumé, or 21 Brix.

With normal maturity between 10 and 12.5 Baumé (according to Rankine), I'd have said I could wait a while. But then I was kindly given the use of a pH meter.

The readings for the 'normal' and 'tree' sites were pH 3.21 and pH 3.16 respectively. Considering I want to keep my wine as fresh as I can, and that pH should range between 3.0 and 3.4, I'd say I'm about ready to go with the harvest.

The only thing I need to do now is get my hands on a press, some tubs and buckets, some pipes, a few picking boxes, some Potassium Metabisulfite and some CO2. As soon as I have all of that, I'm out picking.

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