Shiraz and Voignier grapes harvested

I know, I said I was going to try and wait until next weekend to harvest these, but it would seem that I still have some learning to do when it comes to determining when to harvest. The pH levels were at 3.4 just 5 days ago, and today there were at 3.5. It may not seem like much, but from what I have read, you really do not want to wait much past 3.5 to harvest. So I got out some family and we spend an hour in the field and harvested 400 pounds of grapes!!! Quite a bit more than I had anticipated. I was only expecting 300 pounds, so I will be making a trip to the store next week in preparation for the Norton harvest that is coming up in 2 weeks.

I know some people had expressed a desire to come out and participate, and you still can, it is just pushed back 2 weeks for the Norton harvest. I will be monitoring the grapes much more closely so I do not make the same mistake twice.

For those curious about numbers, here is what we have so far:

40 gallons of Shiraz Must. I haven’t checked the books, yet, but I am guessing this will make around 30 gallons of finished wine. The brix came out to 21.4. So I added just a tad of sugar and chaptalized it to 24 Brix. This should give a finished alcohol content of around 13%. The pH final value was 3.5 which is spot on to where I wanted it to be this year. Last year I harvested at 3.8 (and that is where I thought about waiting until next weekend to do it), but decided that this year, I will try and make a wine that is much more stable and one that requires far less chemicals to get to the ideal numbers. I’d rather add a little sugar, than have to add chemicals to bring up the acidity. Speaking of acidity, this year the TA came in at .68. Which is almost at the ideal numbers. It is soo close, I don’t think I’ll adjust the acid this year. Besides, when I put this wine under Malolactic Fermentation and the little bugs do their job converting the malic acid to lactic acid. Which has a overall effect of lowering the TA slightly. Hopefully from .68 to .60.

As for the Voignier, the story is very similar. I harvested 9 gallons of the stuff this year, vs 3 gallons last year. Quite a bit more grapes on the vines this year. The numbers came in at 19.4 Brix, which I will chaptalize it as well and bring it up to 22 brix. The pH registered 3.43, and the TA was .65. Ideally for this white wine I would have liked a TA of .70, but again, I do not want to mess with any chemicals this year to have as clean of a wine as I can make.

Tomorrow, I will be pitching in the yeast, and will update the blog again, and take a few more snapshots.

So here is a photo recap:

We got started around 7 pm in the evening, after the heat of the day started to go down. There was no wind, so it was still pretty hot, though, lol.

And of course, I got in there too.

After we got all of the shiraz, we moved to the front vineyard, and picked the 3 rows of Voignier grapes.

Arent they beutiful?

These little vines were just loaded.

Now, I want you to keep in mind, this is what we harvested last year. (92 lbs)

And this is what we harvested THIS year. (approx 400 lbs – Shiraz and approx 50 lbs Voignier)

By now it was dark, so we moved to the garage.

So…time to dump them into the new Crusher/Destemmer. MAN that was soo easy, and fast. I dont know how people ever got by crushing grapes by foot before this machine. :)

and there they go…chomp..chomp..chomp…

In the top, and out the bottom…

And still going… 40 gallons worth!

In the end, we had 40 gallons of shiraz, and 7-8 gallons of Voignier.

But the party had to end sometime..and begins the enevitable cleanup that follows

And more..

And more…..

And finally we sat on the back portch and had a good long smoke and talked about how much fun we had. It was really fun. Just knowing that the long hard year of growing and maintaining the grapes, is over, and seeing the fruits of the labor. Now, I cant wait to see what kind of wine we will get this year. I hope you come out sometime and try it. Of course, it will be a couple of years before this batch is ready… but hey… even the journey of a thousand miles all begins with one step.

This is just one more step closer to having my own winery.

Check back tomorrow and the following days to follow this batch as it transforms from grapes to wine.

Ta ta for now.

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