Saturday, September 28, 2019

Wines I'm Making: Harvest 2019—Not Quite Yet

Thinking our backyard grapes might be ready to harvest, I did my first full testing of their ripeness today. A sample from the Cabernet vines showed brix at 23.5, which is very close to ideal (24 brix is where I normally like to pick), but with the pH a bit on the low side (pH 3.34). PH squared x brix = 262, which, according to Jeff Cox's From Vines to Wines (Storey Books, 1999), means they are ready for picking (the goal by this measure is 260 for a red wine), but the seeds in many of the grapes are still a touch green and another week on the vines will be perfect, I suspect. The problem is the raccoons—or whatever it is that steals grapes in the night. Ideal ripeness has to be balanced against potential animal losses. Happily, this year, almost none of the grapes will be lost to mildew, so I feel like waiting another week is the way to go. Thus, harvest 2019 is projected for October 5.

The Sangiovese, from which we normally make rosé (and last year used to make a little sparking wine, even), tested at only 19 brix and a pH of 3.31—on the low side (pH squared x brix = 208, again, within the acceptable range, according to Cox's measure (for whites and rosé 200 is the goal), but I think we can get a little more ripeness). I like to pick the Sangiovese for rosé at 22 brix. Although 19 brix would probably be just right for sparkling wine, I'm not equipped with enough of the right kind of bottles to make the whole Sangiovese harvest into sparkling wine, so I will wait to pick the Sangiovese as well. Today, I will check the integrity of the nets and make sure the electric fence is working and hope the animals are deterred as much as possible....

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Art Trails 2019

ART TRAILS 2019: Art Trails is approaching. I'll be showing new work again this year in my home during the two middle weekends of October from 10:00AM to 5:00PM all four days. If you're in the area, come by and see what I've been up to. This year, I'm studio No. 18. Preview show opening is this Friday, September 27 from 6:00PM to 9:00PM at The Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA. Otober 12-13 and October 19-20.

Wines I'm Maknig: 2019 Grapes Coming Along Nicely

Until about four days ago, the grapes in our little backyard vineyard were in perfect condition, with no losses. The new method of spraying with sulfur has been a great success. There is virtually no mildew on the grapes at all this year--a first. We had had no animal damage either until a few nights ago when I began to notice clusters stripped of fruit here and there. This happens every year, despite the netting and the electric fence around the grapes. Single-grape testing has suggested the Cabernet is already at about 23 brix and the Sangiovese at about 21 brix, both close to being ready to harvest. If the critter damage begins to accelerate, I may be forced to harvest sooner rather than later. Ideally, I'd like to let the fruit hang another ten days or so. We'll see....
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