Winemaker Greg Stach looks at a multitude of factors when determining if the grapes are ripe. He uses evidence from the vineyards as well as analysis from our lab. When he is walking the vineyard and sampling grapes, he is looking for four main qualities: • Soft Berries – Berries dehydrate slightly and the texture of the pulps softens when ripen. • Brown Pips/Seeds – The color of grape seeds changes from green to brown as the berries ripen. • Clean Pedicel – When grapes are fully ripe, the pedical (sometimes called the jack) can be pulled off the berry easily and little or no pulp will remain attached to the pedical. • Ripe Flavor – Under-ripe grapes have a green, herbaceous smell and taste. Ripe red grapes have flavors reminiscent of plum, strawberry, and cherry while green grape lean more towards stone and tropical fruit or honey flavors.
After walking a vineyard, Greg will bring back some grapes to our lab for analysis. We determine the Brix (sugar) and acidity levels of the grapes. With the information from the vineyard and lab, Greg makes the final decision if the grapes are ripe or not. We might be harvest the next day or waiting to see how the vineyard develops.