We picked our grapes this year on Saturday, October 5, which is a pretty typical date. We usually harvest in the first week of October. We took in 77.42 pounds of Sangiovese and 155.54 pounds of Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc, which is rather more than usual because this year we suffered very little damage from raccoons and other critters, losing only seven or eight clusters of low-hanging fruit, and losing virtually nothing to mildew--a first. It made a huge difference to dust the grapes with sulfur rather than spraying them. It is a far easier method and it works much better. That will be the plan in the future. These are perhaps the healthiest-looking grapes we've ever harvested.
The Cabernet must tested at 23.25 brix and a pH of 3.38, which is close to ideal. The Sangiovese tested at 20.25 brix and a pH of 3.7, a trifle low on the brix side, but we usually make rosé from these grapes, so that's well within the range I'm looking for. I added 230 grams of corn sugar to bump up the brix about a degree, as I did last year. After 18 hours on the skins, I pressed the grapes, (the grapes were crushed at about 4PM on the 5th, pressed at about noon on the 6th). Ten gallons of must yielded five gallons of pressed juice. On the evening of the 6th, I added yeast, this year using the Prise de Mousse variety again, as I did last year, although I've usually used the Epernay II yeast in the past. The yeast doesn't seem to alter the flavor that much. I've had good results with both. The grapes were so healthy looking I did not add sulfite to the Sangiovese must. I lightly sulfited the Cabernet, as that must will soak for a couple of days before it starts to undergo fermentation. So far, off to a good start. Next task--bottle and label last year's wise.