Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

   The grapes I mean!  Bunch thinning, or dropping fruit, is a common practice in the vineyard that must be done before harvest, even if it may break grape growers hearts. The end goal for any grower or wine maker is to produce the best product, which means we usually have to intervene and help the vines out to ensure they ripen their fruit.  So, after verasion (the process in which grapes turn from green to whatever color they are destined to be) we head out into the vineyard and cut off any bunch that clearly will not ripen in time.  My winemaker, Joel Aiken (super smart dude) pointed out bunches (like the one pictured) that were only sort of pink and said they would never fully get through verasion, so off with their heads!  We also make sure to cut off bunches that have been either damaged from sun, pests or mold.  The idea is we do not want the vine wasting energy trying to ripen them when they will never be good enough to become wine.

So far everything seems logical, if it looks bad, take it off, if it looks good, leave it on.  Now here comes the hard part, at least for growers, we also go through and drop perfectly good fruit.  The idea is the same, we want the vine to be able the fully ripen the fruit so if there is too much fruit we have to take some of it off.  It is all about protecting the balance in the vine. 

Walking down the rows after they finish can be hard, it is sad to see all that seemingly perfect fruit in the dirt, but you have to remember it is for a good cause, to make the best damn wine we can! So maybe its best if you avoid the vineyard for a few days..

Happy Harvest All!

Chase Cellars

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