I just made a very nice white from a harvest of white wine grapes in Bellevue, Washington (Western Washington State, USA). I would love to identify the variety of grape if possible. Here are some pics. Thanks in advance for your help!
There were about ten vines that yielded seventy pounds of fruit, albeit with a way low brix of 10.5. These vines belong to a family friend across town. Next year I will monitor the sugar levels much more carefully. After racking three times I ended up with 22 bottles of wine. We are drinking it already!
I am so envious. I love making my own wine and to see all of you who have access, not only to grapes, but other "wild" fruits as well, makes me reconsider making wine from cat hair, mosquitoes, and snow. I quess spruce needles might be able to be included in that list. Not sure about wine, but they do indeed use spruce needles as an ingredient in beer. Though I haven't tasted any myself, I guess it adds a nice "touch".
Do the grapes have the smell of white grape juice? To me they look like slightly unripe Niagra grapes- although a bit small. Niagra tends to be a bit small when they are shaded like it appears to be. Next year let them hang longer to get the brix up. Niagra is a low brix grape and the 10.5 is about what would be expected when they were grown in the shade and slightly unripe. Regardless they do make a good wine. Just bump the sugar up and go for it. It is an early drinker and is even better when sweetened up a bit when fermentation is done. Here is a picture of Niagra grapes from Lon Romberg.
Thanks, Grapeman. I think you are right about the variety; they were growing in the shade of the vine's leaves (my friends use the vines for decoration and not agriculture). That would explain their small size. A good deal of the grapes were overripe, and none were under-ripe. I picked these grapes in October 2009, pretty late in the season I think. As a result the juice turned out a little browner than I had hoped, but still created a well-balanced wine. Doesn't the brix level fall as grapes become overripe?
I actually want to transplant these vines to a new location and do some actual canopy management, but I am concerned about the feasibility of transplanting 26 year-old vines. Have any of you had success in transplanting old vines?
The low brix was probably a function of the shading. The brix does not fall when overripe- it will keep rising as the berry dries out, it concentrates the sugar. Get those vines out in the open and they will get sweeter for sure. Good luck.