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Harvest – Right Around The Corner

Posted on by Still Waters Vineyards

August is upon us and with it, much excitement. Summer is trudging ever faithfully towards autumn, though not without imparting its brightest rays and warmest temperatures. Our vines have been dutifully prospering, making due with the conditions nature has bestowed upon us this year. Harvest is on everyone’s mind and the grapes seem to be relishing in this. They are, in fact, so eager that the traditional timeline of harvest just isn’t fast enough this year. The first fruit samples taken on July 28 indicate that the first of the whites will be ready about two weeks early. Read on to find out what this means for the fruit, for us, and for you!

Veraison : French for “the onset of ripening”, Veraison simply put is the physiological process of the fruit ripening. Before the grapes enter veraison, they are green and hard with low sugar levels and high levels of acid. As veraison progresses, the sugar and the PH levels rise and the acid levels fall. The goal is to find that perfect combination within the right timeline.

Petite Sirah grapes going through Veraison

Petite Sirah grapes going through Veraison

Acid: As sugar levels rise in the grape, acid levels fall. It is crucial to have a certain acid level in the fruit to provide a balance to the sugar and create a palatable wine. Titratable acidity or “TA” measures the total amount of protons available in the juice or wine and is measured as the date of harvest approaches.

PH: pH is the measurement of free (H+) hydrogen ions. A low pH number indicates a high concentration of acids in a solution. As the acid levels in ripening grapes fall, the concentration of acids are lessening which means the pH level is rising.

Sugar: The increase of sugars in the grapes comes from the storage of carbohydrates in the roots and trunk of the grapevines as well as through the process of photosynthesis. The rate of this build up will depend on several factors, including the climate, as well as the potential yield size of grape clusters and young vine shoot tip which compete for the resources of the mother grapevine.

In short, all of this information tells us that not only is wine making complicated, but farming the grapes with the right balance is a highly delicate and specific process. We have two weeks to raise the sugars, lower the acid, and bring up the ph. However, this sweet spot takes luck, dedication, and skill, ensuring that like a shepherd tending his sheep, Still Waters will be diligently monitoring the fruits of our labor to bring us a truly special wine.

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