I am pretty excited that I have been doing some new things! I got to go with the winemaker to the vineyards to sample grapes. We went to the Russian River Valley to test both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We tested four lots of each. Both the Pinot and Chard come from vineyards with quite the pedigree – some pretty expensive neighbors.
So the way to sample a vineyard, at least in this case, is to pick a grape from the top, center and bottom of a bunch, every five vines or so. Then continue the length of the row on either side of the row. Depending on how many rows or how big the vineyard is you may have to do this a bunch of times. Luckily, we just have a few rows in each of “our” blocks. Collect the grapes in a very fancy Ziploc baggie – making sure to label the block and bring them back to the “lab”.
Once back at the winery we do the very important task of mushing all of the grapes in their respective baggies – kind of the way you would bubble wrap. Then strain the juice into little vials and get them labled, ready to bring to the real lab. I get to test the brix or sugar content myself, but for pH and TA they have to “send it out”.
The Chardonnay came in between 15.5 and 17.5 brix. The Pinot, though, came in between 17.9 and 23.5!!!! That means that we will soon be receiving Pinot at the winery and will be ACTUALLY DOING THE WINE MAKING STUFF!!!