Yesterday one of the guys from the vineyard brought in a couple handfuls of grapes, and at first we didn’t know if we were being handed plastic grapes from our events table setup or the real thing – they looked that perfect. Upon closer inspection we were thrilled to find out they were indeed two bunches of riesling and one bunch of pinot noir.
Since this is our first crop of riesling, we didn't really have a reference for what healthy grapes look like at this point of the growing season, but now we know that they look beautiful. The tight clusters revealed berries that are translucent and bright. They looked good enough to eat and we did have a taste. Though obviously still tart, there was some perception of sugar. We then did a brix test with our brixometer, and sure enough, the sugar level is at 11 brix.
The pinot cluster was just as nice as any we harvested last year but what was most surprising was how good they looked this early in the year. Pulling berries from the bunch to sample seemed a sin as we didn't want to ruin the perfect cluster, but for science's sake we had to. We called Kurt, our resident cellar master and pinot-phile to let him know how good the grapes looked and to test the brix with him on the line. Needless to say, he was thrilled to hear that our pinot sample was already at 15 brix.
This growing season has not been the picture perfect, hot and dry one that we had last year. Chip Manning, our agricultural manager, and his crew have been keeping up with the growth all year and it looks like all that work is finally paying off with healthy grapes. We are all feeling the energy of harvest season approaching.