The countdown is on until our 2010 grapes are harvested and while obviously nowhere near as important, there are some parallels to being expectant parents. You have this date (April 17 for us) that your data projects as the likely harvest day but really it’s down to nature. It’s taken months to get the fruit to this stage but there is no reward until its safely in the wine tank. Others in the same boat report gleefully that their fruit is in and still you wait. Others keep asking you if you’ve harvested yet. It’s a time of nervous anticipation.
At the moment I go out every second day and handpick 300 individual berries from a range of locations in our vineyard and Aaron takes them into the winery to test - yesterday our Brix level (measures sugar content) was almost high enough but acid levels are still just a bit too high to harvest. But the fruit tastes ready, it’s delicious and disease free. There is a temptation just to get harvest done and dusted. It’s a bit like being in the late stages of pregnancy when you just want to get the business done while everything’s looking good and you face decisions over whether to induce if there are problems on the horizon. When it comes to the grapes, rain, frost risk and heavy harvester bookings make harvest now look appealing. But we’ve decided to wait and risk the weather and risk losing our booked harvester spot as there’s truth in the saying that great wine is made in the vineyard – we have to do our utmost to make sure the fruit is ripened to perfection. Besides, the great thing about the ‘grape pregnancy’ is that Aaron has to do most of the labour while I get to be the support person! It’s a much better role – in fact in a week or so I’ll have to give my mates a ring and we can go out for a celebratory cigar and beer while Aaron gets the fruit settled into the tanks and keeps a close eye on its progress.