Harvest is a wonderful time of year. There are so many things that start to happen to signify that harvest is upon us. The first signal the grapes show us is a changing of the color of the grapes called veraison. Yes, all grapes start out green and then depending on the varietal will change to purple. Veraison signals the transition of the grape from growth to grape ripening. It’s a beautiful time in the vineyard as it signals harvest is around the corner.
Then we get busy preparing. Logistics plays an important role in this process. Typically there are so many different types of varietals and they ripen at different times. Not this year! Because of the heat spell last week, all the grapes decided to be ready at the same time. Logistically, you have to be prepared to pick, transport, and process the grapes when they are ready. It’s on their schedule, not yours!
Our growers start getting excited when they see the brix (sugars) coming up in the grapes. It’s a sign that the grapes are truly ready. Checking the grapes for the brix is normally done using a refractometer, but some use the old fashion method. Our friend Keith Sarloos, who owns a vineyard in Los Olivos, decides when to harvest when his 8 year old daughter says so. She uses the old fashion method, and it’s so simple. She bites into a grape and checks the color of the seed. Yep, that’s it! The seed will change from green to brown. Well, our sugars are right where they need to be and the seeds have turned brown. Of course there’s always one last test - you can always just taste the grape. If it’s sweet, well then, it’s ready. Harvest here we come.
Next, the processing of the grapes. Stay tuned.
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2017 harvest has begun for Inner Sanctum Cellars. Got up at the crack of dawn to beat the unusually intense heat and caught this sunrise showing us the smoke filled sky we'd be picking grapes in. The smoke has settled into our area from local fires, mainly from Yosemite. Our first harvest this year is from a new vineyard producing Sangiovese out of Knights Ferry. This gem is a small well kept and well loved vineyard. Lisa, the grower puts her heart and soul into growing her grapes. She's adamant about learning everything she can about growing great grapes. For us, it's part of what we look for. The growers who take the best care of the fruits of their labor. We also love the idea of getting grapes from different areas because we feel this adds diversity of flavor to the grapes coming from different types of soils. Yes, it makes a difference. Well one down, six more to go. More to come on each vineyard.