I hope a winemaker blogger can be forgiven some inactivity this time of year. As the 2007 harvest winds down, I thought a short note would be helpful to other winemakers struggling with harvest decisions.
Basically, if you haven't picked by now, you should probably do so. A cool summer which hardly topped 90F in most areas encouraged rapid maturation and very screwy numbers and ripeness patterns. For example, Dry Creek Zin was all picked well before Lodi this year! Over half our fruit came in a month early, and then we slowed to a crawl. We are now experiencing unusually cold and rainy weather in which lofty brix goals many winemakers still pick on will never be achieved. That's OK. Look for signs of ripeness: good fruit flavors, brown seeds, skins which disintegrate when chewed and yield color easily when subsequently squeezed between forefinger and thumb. Forget brix!