Wow, did I catch your attention? You are probably thinking, “What is she talking about? Don’t we need all the Texas grapes that we can get, so that we can make great Texas wine?”
Especially when you see some beauties like these Texas Tempranillo grapes!
Yes, we doooo want to make great Texas wine, but “quality” Texas grapes are the key to really great Texas wine. We don’t want green or immature grapes mixed in with our ripe grapes that we send to the wineries.
I’ll show you. Here are some grapes in our vineyard back in July.
These grapes look nice, but notice all the unripe green grapes mixed in. We want to wait until the grapes are more evenly ripe. But remember this picture is from July. We had lots of God’s good High Plain’s sunlight shining on those grapes for the last month.
That’s why we do all this testing of brix and pH on the grapes. That’s what all those funny numbers are that we keep posting on our web site. The winemakers like to keep really close tabs on how the grapes are developing. Sometime I’ll have to tell you what all those tools are for. But the butter, I’ll tell you that today. It is what you roll your corn-on-the-cob from the garden in. Or is it that you use the corn in order to get that delicious butter into your mouth. One or the other. Back to the testing of the grapes.
Now here are some more Tempranillo grapes that are really close to being ready to harvest. These vines are loaded, but you actually can’t see quite how loaded. We want good canopy (that basically means the leaves) to shade the grapes from the intensive heat and sunlight of the afternoon, but the grapes need a certain amount of sunlight in order to develop their brix and flavors.
We are working on learning how to get that sunlight uniformly on the grapes to achieve a more even crop.
Ahhh, more Texas Tempranillo!
And more Texas Tempranillo!
And rows and rows of Texas Tempranillo!
So, how do we get those grapes off the vine? Well, we use a mechanical harvester.
Here are the insides of the harvester. Those fiberglass bars shake the vines to release the grapes. My Honey says they are moving at 500 to 600 rpm, or something like that.
What is good about the shaking is that most of the immature grapes are left on the vine because they have a firm grip.
I know I should have taken a picture of the whole harvester, but I got distracted taking pictures of other things such as my baby here.
So here is a vine after it has been harvested. See what it left behind?
Here is a little better view.
There you have some grapes that we “wanted” left on the vine. In case you’re wondering, that black tube is not for irrigation purposes. We use underground drip for irrigating the vines. That tube is part of the experimental evaporative cooling system that we have in some of our Viognier.
If all this doesn’t make sense, maybe it is because we got up to start harvesting this morning at 3:00 am. And tomorrow it will start at 4:15 am. I was going to say 4:00 am, but My Honey corrected me and told me to say 4:15 am. I guess he might be afraid that one of our helpers (children) will actually read my blog and think that the “report to work time” has changed. So be patient with me. I’ll try to get some sleep.