Harvest is continuing at a fairly slow pace. The grapes seem to be very reluctant to come up to the sugar levels I look for, despite the fact that we have had the good fortune of a dry weather week. But the grapes do seem to be ripening despite the lower sugar levels. There is more to the whole picture than sugar. The clue to a ripe grape is brown, crunchy seeds, skins that release color when you pinch them in your fingers (for reds), and great taste that feels balanced between sweetness and acidity.
We did harvest the Zinfandel this last week and it is currently fermenting along nicely. Sugar levels were not what I was hoping for but everything else was right there. The color looks great and I am hopeful that this will continue to be a wonderful wine in the series of Zinfandels I have made at RagApple Lassie.
But, it is an interesting phenomenon here in North Carolina that has developed in the last few years that I have been here. I mentioned in my last post that the temperatures have changed dramatically. Two weeks ago, we were running temperatures in the high 80's and low to mid-90's every day. Then September first rolled around. Mother Nature looked at her calender and said, "whoah, it's September, drop the the temperature by 20 degrees!!" And so it happened. We are in the seventies during the day, often very low, and fifites at night. Puts a bit of a crimp on the ripening process.
But the grapes are hanging along and slowly approaching ripeness. We plan to harvest Petite Verdot and Merlot on Monday. We will see what transpires after that.