Some of us went out to “help” the regular grape testers the other day. So, I thought I’d show you some pictures of how we do it.
For starter, I don’t know what these guys are doing here, but they are in front of the little Kubota that we use to haul in the grape samples from the field.
Some of us had to walk part of the way since the Kubota was overheating. That worked out fine since I wanted to walk the fields and take some pictures and berry taste test a few grapes.
Here is the high-tech method of using a black sharpie to identify the buckets, so that we don’t get the berries mixed up.
The grapes are gathered up in buckets and placed in the back of the Kubota. These samples represent cluster samples. We usually start with berry samples. As we get closer to the brix level that the winery is looking for, we switch to gathering clusters of grapes to get a more accurate sampling.
Then the fun begins.
Next we use a cone strainer and a wooden pestle set to squeeze the juice from the seeds and the skin.
After the juice is separated from the seed and the peeling, we have nice amounts of grape juice to work with. We are freezing some of this extra juice so that our son who is studying enology at Texas Tech University will have something to do his homework with. Actually he isn’t 21 yet so he has to play with fermentation at home rather than at school.
All of these samples are of Viognier grapes from different fields or age of vine
First the PH is tested. Even if the same variety of grapes is tested, different fields of grapes may have different chemistry numbers.
Then a little juice is squeezed onto a refractometer to measure the degrees of Brix or sugar content of the grape juice.
You look through the refractometer to read the measurement. Then the tester scribbles the numbers down on a piece of paper, but those numbers get transferred to a Google doc so that everyone who needs to see the numbers can see them, which includes the wineries that are planning to make our grapes into wonderful wine.
Coordinating grape harvest is dependent on the chemistry of the grapes, how many grapes can we harvest in one night, if the winery is ready for the grapes to crush press, and if we can coordinate the trucks to haul the grapes to the winery. Needless to say, it really takes some coordination.
That’s why My Honey is playing 42 dominoes with the children right now before he goes out at 10:00 pm tonight to harvest some more grapes. Everyone need some break time every once in a while. I guess he really shouldn’t have a glass of wine till he comes back. Oh, well, all in good time.