I took a walk through the vineyard today, refractometer in hand. I was surprised at what I found! Although still early in the summer the grapes in our small three acre vineyard are ripening quite rapidly.
Just in case you have never been to Twigg winery I will give a brief description of our layout. Situated high on a hill overlooking a long narrow valley our vineyard is at about 1220-1250′ above sea level. Our first planting of grapes in 1998 consisted of Chardonnay, Riesling, Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Traminette. The winter of 98′-’99 turned out to be an extremely cold one, thus we lost all but the Baco and Traminette vines. Since we have been planting many new and old varieties of vinifera and labrusca grapes, and now have approximately three acres of vines of various ages. Below you will find pics of this years fruit taken August 8 with respective brix levels listed to the side. Brix, a measure of soluble solids, represents the percent sugar in the grapes and is measured with a device called a refractometer. This device uses a prism to “refract” light through a sample of the juice from a given variety of grape. Samples are taken by placing individual grapes in a ziploc bag, I collect around 30-40, then mash them up and place a drop of the composite on the refractometer and check the brix. A fun way to spend your time!
Lemberger- as of August 8, 2012 17.5° brix
Noiret- as of August 8, 2012 18.5° brix
Valvin Muscat- As of August 8, 2012 18.5° brix
Pinot Gris- As of August 8, 2012 15.5° brix
Niagara- As of August 8, 2012 18° brix
In addition to the above mentioned vines, I also checked the brix on our 2 year old baby vines (having left a few clusters here and there) with results as follows: Edelweiss……..20° brix, Chardonel………14.5° brix, Frontenac………. 16.5° brix.
Assuming these varieties continue to ripen at the current rate, and that we attempt to harvest at 22-23° brix, harvest will start very soon. Normally, I would be excited to be seeing numbers this high early in the season. However, with peach season in full swing, and Mollie’s Delicious apples ready to harvest, it promises to be a busy August and September.
I continue to have grape expectations,