What’s happening in the vineyard a week before harvest? A lot! We are doing 100 berry samples for all of our different varieties. We take a hundred berries from the vineyard for each variety and bring them to the lab to run an analysis of sugar levels, total acidity and pH. We are looking for that ideal range where acidity decreases, pH increases and sugar increases to about 22 Brix or roughly 22 percent sugar. We then project a “pick” date. We have already completed three trials and will do another every week.
We check for signs of any kind of rot and the need to pick sooner. We are also checking for animal damage. Do you realize we now have deer fencing in all three vineyard locations? So we are home free…not!
The raccoons in the Grace Vineyard in Russell County are terrible thieves, true bandits. One night our infrared camera captured a picture of 4 raccoons at one vine. In one picture, it looks like the bigger ones are pushing the others up the vine! Next, here come the foxes. Oh, did we tell you that skunks and possums also love grapes?
So we installed a solar electric fence around that vineyard with lots of charge. Did that work? Yes and no. The raccoons appear to have figured out a way to crawl under the fence in very little time. We are just waiting for the bear to come back that was here in July! The constant critter challenge is a significant irritant.
We are also cleaning harvest equipment, making sure everything works, estimating crop size and ordering harvest supplies. Plus, we recently built a new crush pad. You get the idea that we are not sitting on the patio and watching the fireflies.
On the other hand, the dry, warm weather for the last few weeks has been picture perfect for grapes and we think we are going to have a great harvest. Come visit and help us bring in the crop, especially if you are thinking of becoming a winemaker.