It’s busy, incredibly crowded but a lot of fun. Anxiety, excitement and a wonderful rich grape aroma fill the air as wine makers all over the valley begin the mammoth task of harvesting their grapes. What a fun time to be in wine country! When you go, you’ll see that it’s a scientific process that’s also part experience and gut intuition when it comes to deciding the perfect day to cut the fruit from the vine. We took a tour at Flora Springs winery into the vineyard to check out the plump little grapes and got a quick lesson on how vintners decide the grapes are ready.
Check out the picture here of Richard Tiedemann, with Flora Springs, reading the amount of sugar inside one of the grapes. He squeezed the grape juice onto an ocular device that measured the sugar level. When that level gets to the desired amount (all winemakers have their own preferences), it’s time to get the fruit off of the vine…something that’s often done before sunrise. Then the wine making process begins and months and months of monitoring, measuring and adjusting the juice to get everything just right.
It’s a beautiful time to be in Napa when the grapes are fully ripe hanging from the vines. The weather is spectacular, restaurants are bustling and talk everywhere is about the harvest and what to expect from the grapes. There’s a frenetic energy in the air. Because of the climate differences, soil changes, unpredicted pests, all kinds of things, every vintage is different, so each year’s finished product is always the big unknown. Some of the wine makers we talked to were not only anxious about the harvest but also wine affionado Robert Parker’s visit to their wineries next month. A good review from Parker is money in the bank!