Being an estate vineyard comes with a lot of responsibility. We grow every single grape we use to make our wine, so one of the most vital steps in our winemaking process is harvest. Harvest is not something you mark your calendar for each year, the grapes have to tell you when they’re ready for harvest, and we have to listen.

There are several ways to measure the readiness of grapes for harvest, the factor we are going to be focusing on today is sugar content. Measuring the sugar content of a grape can be a great indicator of whether or not it is ready to be picked.

The simplest way of determining whether or not the sugar content in a grape is high enough is to taste it!

Simply tasting a grape won’t give you an exact determination of its readiness, but you’ll definitely know if it’s too tart. Another, more scientifically sound way to check sugar content is to use a refractometer.

A refractometer allows to you see the amount of sugar within a grape. You use it by squeezing a sample amount of the juice from a grape onto its receptacle and looking through to see what levels the sugar is at. In the image to the left it is at a low number of 15, you usually want to wait to pick your grapes until they are in the 22 range. Many factors can affect how long it takes before grapes are harvest-ready, so it’s always important to work on their schedule.

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