Grape sampling in Napa Valley

I spent the majority of this week in the Napa Valley thanks to the Napa Valley Vintners and my sponsor, Herta Peju of Peju Vineyards.

I have a few stories to post, but one of the best parts was dubbed, “Down & Dirty in the Vineyard”.  At 7:15 am this past Tuesday, 29 of us lined up in the hotel lobby, waiting for a vintner to pull our name out of a hat.  I was selected by Kristin, of Honig Vineyard & Winery.

Following Kristin through one of Honig's Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. She wanted to test the sugar level, or Brix, in both her newer (approx. 6 yrs. old) and older (15-20 year old) vines in the Gordon Vineyard.

We traipsed down a few rows and selected berries from each vine, from the back, alternating between the top, middle and bottom of the cluster. We collected our spoils in baggies.

Grape porn. Napa's had a cool summer (jealous, New Yorkers?) and they're about 2 weeks behind where they usually would be, in terms of ripeness. Of course, our down and dirty day got up to 113.

Since at least another day of the heat wave was expected, Kristin had her vineyard manager turn on the water. If you look carefully, you can see the drops beginning to emerge from the drip irrigation system.

Back at the lab, we squished our grapes to relase the juice. Notice how the seeds are starting to ripen, going from green to brown.

Pouring a small amount of grape juice onto the refractometer. I hadn't seen this style before and Kristin guessed it was a couple hundred bucks.

The older vines were almost a brix ahead of the younger vines. We had noticed their sweetness through snacking in the vineyard. Kristin thought she'd probably harvest at the end of this week, or early next. The final alcohol in the wine can be measured as around 0.6 * the Brix at harvest.

Rewarding our hard work with last year's wines. My favorite was the Honig Napa Sauvignon Blanc - clean, crisp, lively and full of grapefruit notes, it's also a great bargain at $16. Thanks, Kristin, for a great experience!


Filed under Wine

2 responses to “Grape sampling in Napa Valley

  1. I like this idea of you being sponsored to drink wine and tour vineyards.

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