Harvest can be a fun and exciting time in a winery. The rush of moving from one place to the next, from checking on our almost finished Chardonnay in barrel; to the newly arrived Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in bins up on the scale. Adam Craig continues his revelation of what happens on the enology side.
Week of September 14th to 18th, 2017
Lab analysis never ceases, and as harvest moves into full swing; only gets more detailed and repetitive. However, one thing that is always nice in harvest – from the standpoint of the workers only, not necessarily always good for the grapes – are the sudden slow times.
Slow times in harvest allows us to play catchup, and with that catchup – those long awaited enzymatic tests – at least those that can wait to be performed. Enzymatic Tests are performed to register on the microscopic levels what is changing in the wine as well as what the baseline condition of the juice is upon arrival from the vineyard – what is really going on inside. They are much like you see in the CSI TV shows; full of Spectrophotometers, cuvettes, and micro-Pippetters, to combine chemicals; Distilled water, and juice samples together on a microliter levels of volume. It would be like making a vegetable soup, full of broth (water), seasoning (chemicals), and a touch of vegetables (sample), while never exceeding a total volume of 0.1 fl oz (3mL).
In the pictures above, you can watch in order as I set up the chemicals and cuvettes, measure not more than 1.00mL of Distilled water using a pipette repeater (computerized pipette that measures the exact same amount with each push of a button); and how the spectrophotometer gives each result each and every time. With the end result on the paper, showing the volume levels of Malic Acid in the samples tested. Malic Acid is one of the acids found in wine which relates to the overall acidity, aroma, and condition of the wine over time.
Right now as the weather has cooled a bit since the big heat waves of Labor Day Weekend, we have slowed enough for many tests and paperwork to get caught up. However, this slow period won’t stick around. We have already started to bring in some Cabernet Lots, and with the heat increasing once again –rush rush rush, here we come!!