harvest too late?

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David Engel

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Hi All,

I live in Washington State and my refractometer says Brix is at 18-19. We were considering going on a vacation for 15 days at the end of September. If I opted not to harvest until I got home mid October, what would happen to the grapes if they are 2 -3 weeks past optimum harvest?

Dave
 

Rice_Guy

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a Midwest point of view;
a lot of what happens depends on the grape, I have Edelweiss variety which would shatter/ fall off the clusters at 18 brix, , , or I was picking a row of Marquette at the local winery which had been missed for two weeks and the row yielded about a gallon instead of half a macro bin or, , , last year a club member was in the hospital and his two week late Itasca was hanging OK but had lots of clusters with raisins and the pickable yield was roughly half.
On the opposite side there are some ice wines made here which will hang till frozen and then make a high flavor/ alcohol concentrate.
what variety?
 

Neb Farmer

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It depends on the varietal and the weather. Riesling can be pretty good at 19 Brix....a red might not be. You ask what will happen if you wait until the grapes are past-optimum? Well, you might not have ANY to make wine with, let alone any to make decent wine with. In my experience, grapes don't wait long. In my opinion, you've waited all summer for this point in time when your grapes are ready, but you want to give all that up now? Vacation later, make GOOD wine , and be happy with an After Harvest Vacation.

2 cents
 

NorCal

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At 18-19 brix, you are a ways off. I would also look at the ripeness of the grapes. What happened in Northern CA this year is that brix came in well ahead of grape ripeness. Some chose to pick based on brix, others chose to wait. I chose to wait and received grapes that were ripe and in good physical shape, but brix were 30+! A lot of watering back to bring the wine back into feremtable range. I've heard it said that most wine grape vareities will accumulate sugar up to 25 brix, anything higher than that is due to dehydration. Not sure if that is true. So, does watering back replacing the water from dehydration or are you now dilluting the flavors and the resulting wine will be light in flavor? We shall see.
If it were mine, I'd either decide to make a Rose and harvest now or wait until after vacation and make the best wine possible with what you have. I would make sure you are giving it plenty of water while you are gone to reduce dehydration.
deleteme.jpg
 

David Engel

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Hi All,

Got to answer my own question. I looked at my journal for the past 2 years. Harvest was September 24th with no science involved, (they just looked ready). This year I have a refractometer and watched the brix levels go up as the fruit matured. I harvested today… 19 clusters off my 5 year old vine. The Brix average was 20.5. I know this is slightly low… but as examined my fullest and most beautiful clusters… they had raisins starting. If I’d have waited another 3 weeks, I’d have lost the entire vine. My growing time from bud break to harvest was 159 days.

Dave
 

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