The first pick is scheduled!

September 5, 2012


Today we went out and sampled the Chardonnay at the Belli ranch again. Block 3 (Rued clone, which is a slightly Musque, or Muscat, selection of Chardonnay) is always the first block to come in, so it’s the one we took the closest look at today. We asked Joe to turn down the irrigation last week, to let the flavor of the berries gain in concentration.

Once we start getting closer to the moment of harvest, we switch over from berry sampling to cluster sampling. Cluster sampling uses a much larger volume of fruit, and is therefore generally more accurate than berry sampling. Since this kind of testing is more accurate, it allows us to more finely tune our choice of harvest date.

The decreased irrigation coupled with the gorgeous weather we’ve been having gave us the result we were hoping for, the berries are tasting just at the edge of being ripe, and so we will begin harvest 2012 this Friday!

Now that we have a firm start date, we are beginning the last few preparations that we need to make. Since we will need the press on the day we receive the Chardonnay, today we got it set up and cleaned it inside and out.

The outside of the press has some dust on it, even though it’s been covered since last year.

This is also our chance to make sure that the press is operating the way it’s supposed to. Once the grapes are here we will need to process them as quickly as possible, so if there’s anything wrong with the press we need to know about it ahead of time.

The inside of the press needs to be as clean as possible, so we rinse it thoroughly with a solution of sodium percarbonate, which kills any microorganisms which may have carried over from last year. To make sure the coverage is thorough, we let the solution collect in the juice tray and then pump it up into the press itself, repeating the process several times.

Everything is looking pretty good, the equipment is clean, it works, and some unbelievably delicious grapes are on the way. We’re really looking forward to this harvest, please follow it with us here on the blog!

Amapola Creek is Richard Arrowoods’ latest winemaking project, to visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.


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