Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Testing Grapes for Harvest

Seyval Grapes
This past weekend I was over at Whitecliff Vineyards Winery and we were testing Cayuga and their estate Seyval to see if they were close to harvest parameters.  It's this time of year you play the wait and see game.  Wait to get the sugars up and see if the weather will cooperate.

Michael has already picked the sampling of Cayuga and he sent Paul and I to take samples of the Seyval from the North and South sides of the vineyard. Armed with two ziplock baggies we headed into the vineyard.  We weren't taking entire clusters, but just cutting off samplings of clusters here and there.

When we returned to the winery we crushed the grapes in the ziplock bags with our hands.  This is to get a sampling of the juice and seeds.  The juice was then poured into beakers, just like chemistry class.


From this juice we test the brix level which translates to sugar level of the grape, the ph and total acidity.  The ideal parameters for picking Seyval are brix at 22, ph of 3.3 and 9 g/l of acidity.

Well....this test turned out that the brix were 16.2, ph was 2.9 and acidity was 10.05 g/l.  But this isn't the only test that is done.  Next we tested the seeds.  

We are looking a number of things when looking at the seeds.   We look for the color of the seed, hardness of the shell, the nuttiness of the seed when chewed and whether or not if the meet of the grape starts to separate from the seed.  In this case the Seyval grape seed still had a bit of green in it, was a little nutty, and the shell was hard, but not as hard as it could be.  

The conclusion....is it's best to let the grapes hang for another 10 days or so.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

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