We changed farming companies before the 2018 harvest, and one consequence of this move was the need for me to do my own fruit sampling.
Sampling is the process of taking berries or bunches of grapes randomly from a block of fruit in order to gauge the ripeness of those grapes. We will do this sampling as we get relatively close to harvest, say, a couple of weeks out. The first result serves as a baseline; all subsequent measures of brix, pH, and TA (for our purpose, total acidity) generally advance toward what ripeness would mean from a numbers standpoint.
For me, though, these numbers are only confirmatory. I’ll only pick fruit if the flavors and textures of the grape match my conception of ready-to-go.
Beyond the specific purpose of determining how far out harvest is, walking our
vineyards frequently keeps me in touch with potential issues in terms of health of the vines and keeps me close to the great beauty of a well-planted and well-maintained vineyard.