Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting ready for the Chardonnay harvest!

We walked the Chardonnay rows this morning to check the fruit, which seems to be ripening nice and slowly; the flavors are excellent but the acidity is still too high, so we will wait a few more days to pick.

The Spring Mountain clone is always the last one picked but this year it has much higher yields than usual, so the crew will do another pass to thin out the excess clusters. This will enable the fruit to ripen evenly and earlier, avoiding botrytis or bunch rot.

A Spring Mountain vine with too much fruit on it that needs to be "de-clumped".

Zach's hand shows a cluster of Spring Mountain Chardonnay affected by S.A.D. These will never ripen and need to be removed.

We don't like the taste of the Chardonnay grapes as much as the Pinot Noir -- but we certainly hate the clusters affected by Sugar Accumulation Disorder, or S.A.D.!  We learned about it as we found quite a few such clusters in the Spring Mountain block. Zach explained that it used to be called Berry Shrivel but now we know that it has to do with altered nitrogen metabolism. The affected fruit has lower pH, berry weight and Brix; the shriveled berries have stopped developing and taste harsh and unripe. 

So the crew did a pass through the Spring Mountain parcel today to remove any excess clusters (we call that "de-clumping" -- our very own word!) as well as any affected by S.A.D. And we'll probably be ready for harvesting them in a couple of weeks!

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