But Are They Ready? We have been measuring the sugar levels (Brix) and the pH levels every few days for the last couple of weeks. How do we measure Brix? Well, I gather about 50 grapes from all sections of the pinot vines, from all areas of the clusters. I put them into a ziploc bag and squeeze them, squeezing the juice from the skins and macerating the pulp. I then drop several drops of the juice onto the refractometer and a blue line reads the measurement of sugar in the juice. Pretty simple, actually. We use a pH meter to measure the acid/alkaline reading. We have been calling in the numbers to our French winemaker, our dear, "Monsieur Matthieu Finot!!" He wanted a Brix of 22.5-23 and pH of about 3.4. If we could get the numbers close to that at the same time, he will be happy, he tells me. This balance of sugar and pH levels will produce a wine of balance and good structure. We believe the wine is made in the vineyard, not in the wine cellar. And so, last evening we took a reading and voila!! We are there! 23 and 3.5. Get ready for delivery! Tomorrow we harvest our Pinot Noir!
The sun was scorching hot today, the last day our grapes are attached to their mother vine. The near blistering rays were streaming down on us, on the grapes, shriveling, nearly simmering our tender Pinot fruit. It was one of the hottest days of the summer. Only one more day... please give them a rest from this sun. I pleaded for a break, for them not to shrivel any more than they already had. Right about noon, the sun directly above me, I was walking through the vines, unclipping the netting in preparation for tomorrow. I felt the cool shadow of a cloud above... ah, at least a moment's break from the scalding sun. I looked up. I stopped. Above me, directly above the vineyard, and only above the vineyard stretched this long white cloud. It hung above us for nearly three hours, like a mid-day Milky Way. It was the only cloud in the sky and it was shading my vines. I do not recall, ever, such a singular long cloud that hung in the air for hours... One of life's little miracles for which I offered my gratitude.
We Harvest Tomorrow