Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Mid-Harvest Night's Dream

Most of the vineyards that I'm concerned with have picked now.
I still have some Zin and Cabernet to contend with, but that won't be for another 2~3 weeks at this rate.
(Yawn!) time to start sleeping in again...until 5:30 AM instead of having to wake up at 2:30 or 3:00.

Most vineyards are starting to show signs of stress, with a few leaves starting to drop, and lots of fall color, so the end of the harvest can't be too far off...

My expectations for this harvest are upbeat: mold and rot haven't played any significant role where I've been, and the weather looks like it will hold for the Cab and the other late pick vineyards to mature - even though it may be cooler than it needs to be. Flavors are quite nicely concentrated, and there really hasn't been much dehydration for the most part.

The fact that we've had a long cool growing season has made for less dehydration, even in the dry-farmed vineyards...something which will take a little steam out of the grape growers argument in the "hang time" issue. The next issue of that debate is scheduled for about a month from now on November 10th. I don't think the issue is going away, just that this year didn't have the same pressures as the last few. In fact, the spot market for grapes has become even tougher as many vineyards are heavier than they were last year, and there seems to be a lot of juice out there this year. Just about everybody is scrambling for extra room for these "extra tons" as some of my friends refer to them...

But let's get back to the "hang time" issue.
Enter ETS Laboratories in St. Helena. They now offer a test for "Grape Moisture Content".
Think anyone will pay the $40 for this service?
Oh yeah...every grower who's ever thought that a winery was gouging them will be getting this done. I'm a little wary of this myself, not because I don't think it's informative or perhaps useful - but I wonder if it means the same thing to everyone.

Is there enough data gathered to make some realistic decisions regarding what or if something's amiss. It might be used by either side to argue their point, without providing any clarity to the issue at all, except in extreme situations. Otherwise the question will still remain - when and what levels will need further compensation for the growers?..

The dream I had that started the title of this post? Grapes you're thinking, maybe you'll guess money or payment...


But not until after the grapes come in. Until then it's just a dream...


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