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Blushing Beauties

by David on July 24, 2008

Those little green peas I told you about are beginning to blush and they’re a sight to be seen – such pretty little things… These little “peas” are actually Cabernet Sauvignon which is putting out signals that it’s thinking about coming home – not real soon – but maybe in about eight weeks, give or take, depending on the weather (other varieties ripen earlier).

As if I needed reminding, this is kind of like a wake-up call to get ready for crush. To make sure I’ve ordered all the supplies I need, get the cellar ship shape and sanitized, take look at last year’s notes and get my game plan together for this year (it reinforces my illusion that I have control) ;-)

Besides acting as an early-warning system for crush, the color change (veraison) signals that the vine’s energy has shifted from shoot development into grape ripening. So – that means we’ll be gathering samples before long. You get a bunch of zip-lock bags and pick a representative sample from each section (we’ve got 11 sections on our ten-acre site). Initially we’re after the average sugar, acid and pH. Once they average about 20% sugar it’s time to start tasting. Flavor is, by far, the most important consideration in a harvest decision, but you’ve got to keep running the numbers, too.

I expect the next post will be from the harvest trenches. So far, we’ve come through frost, heat and smoke without much to complain about except a little inconvenience. But, I doubt 2008 will be known for its volume. Let’s see what Mother Nature has in store for us next and hope our luck continues!

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