The most important day of the year is the day we pick the grapes. It sets in motion the annual harvest and it also determines the kind of wine we will make.
In deciding harvesting time It's good to use your senses but it's also important to measure. We need to measure sugar content, pH, and acidity level. Grapes are mostly water and sugar which will ferment to make wine.
Brix is a term that the wine industry uses to measure the sugar content of grapes. Brix level helps to estimate the alcohol level of our wine.
We now know about sugar and how to measure it. Next let's quickly shift to pH and the pH meter. You may remember pH from high school science class. It's a measure of free hydrogen ions. As our grapes ripen and the sugar rises, the pH will rise too.
Grape juice is full of natural acids, which lend important qualities to wine. Every time we measure Brix we should also measure acid levels. In a way they're opposites; as the Brix goes up, the acid levels go down.
So enough with measuring and tasting, let's go pick!
Are you ready to pick? Let's start by picking a good sample, pick individual grapes from many clusters. Sample from both sides of the vine, high and low, in sunny areas and shaded areas, and pick from different parts of each cluster. We make a note about how they felt, how they smelled, and how they tasted. Then, we squeeze our juice into a cup. We use the juice to make our measurements, and then write down our results. Then we measure a sample for sugar, acidity and pH and record it. Then, sort through our grapes. Pick out any green, moldy or shriveled berries and we a're ready to start making wine.