Brix levels at harvest

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dwhill40

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My Cab Sauv only got to a brix level of 21 this year. The seeds and grapes were mature with a ripe smell and taste. PH was 3.5. We did get more rain and humidity than usual throughout the year. What affects Brix at harvest and is there a way to affect the Brix level for harvest?

TIA
 

TonyR

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I think the amount of sunshine along with a good healthy canopy of leaves to help turn the energy into sugar. Yes rain sucks as it dilutes the sugar. But sure would like to know of other things
 

NorCal

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I find that choosing when to pick is one of the most important decisions the winemaker has to make. I don't think there is a set brix level, because the answer is that it depends. It depends on the style of wine you are shooting for, as well as seeing what the vineyard can produce for you.

I've read that grapes accumulate sugar to around 24 brix, any higher after that is due to dehydration. If we have vines that are struggling to fully get to the brix level, we will drop fruit and cut irrigation.

In the end, I think getting to know the vineyard and getting the best fruit that it can give, then making sure it produces the best wine it can make, is the winemaker's responsibility.
 

balatonwine

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What affects Brix at harvest
The vineyard's macro-, meso- and micro-climate. So weather, degree days, water availability, vine health. canopy management, etc. all contribute.

and is there a way to affect the Brix level for harvest?
Weather, degree days, and other macro-climate factors are the largest determinants. You can not change those (unless you move the vineyard).

The other factors, such as canopy management, are all done to help the grapes toward the best brix/acidity balance the site can produce.

But I would not over focus on brix too much from year to year. Brix will vary despite your best efforts. And that is okay. That is part of what makes each year a "vintage".
 

semenn

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For a better aging, I remove the extra leaf next to the clusters of grapes and do the normalization if it is necessary then leave just one cluster on the shoot. This method allows you to get the best conditions of grapes.
 

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