The latest from Eaglepoint Ranch:
– Syrah is at 23.3 degrees Brix – harvest timeframe: October 19-26th – Petite is at 22 degrees Brix – harvest timeframe: October 22-29th
You can see how the rain has kept the Brix from rising more than a few tenths of a degree in the last two weeks. Of course, seasoned grape growers and winemakers rely on more than Brix to know when the grapes are at ideal ripeness.
This is a nice article by Jordan Mackay explaining how winemakers know when to pick. Many of the them, he says, can simply taste when the grapes are ready for harvest, and only use Brix analysis for backup. Jordan ends with a lovely thought from a 19th century winemaking textbook: “A good indication of when to pick is once the birds start eating the grapes.” Those birds are pretty smart; they always finished off our backyard blueberries before we could get to them.
By the way, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr. Mackay at a winetasting lunch at SF’s Restaurant Lulu last year. He’s the wine and spirits writer for pretty much every Bay Area publication that I read, but the man is the very opposite of a wine snob. Read some of his work if you’re interested in a fun, accessible intro to wine.