A final note now on the progress / harvest of my 2016 grapes.
The recent weather has turned fully autumnal and temperatures have plateaued at around 10°C each day (and obviously cooler overnight). The rain, which had been sporadic since the start of October, has picked up and most mornings are now damp from overnight showers.
As I write, we are just in the midst of several showers and they are forecasted for the week ahead.
Tracking nicely ahead of my other varieties from the start of season, my Ortega was the first to be picked on the 9th of October. Prior to picking I tested the sugar content of the grapes with my refractometer and they came out at 20-21° on the Brix scale (which measures the sugar content of the grapes). This converts as a potential alcohol content of 11.5% and is absolutely spot on for a white grape in the south of the UK.
Apart from some mite damage during the season my only lament is that the overall crop was significantly down on expectations (this was a feature for all of my varieties this year, and that of the wider UK as I’ve seen).
I’ve unfortunately given up on my Chardonnay crop. I was rather holding out as this is a late ripening variety but, even with the recent rains, the grapes have not swelled and have remained small and hard in nature. The leaves have turned in colour, much the same as my cropped Ortega, and this means that the saps are descending and there is no future growth to see.
For purely academic reasons I also tested the Brix ° on these grapes which came out as a lowly 9, or a potential alcohol of 4.7%. Perfect only for the health conscious amongst us!
My MVN3 began changing colour towards the end of last month and have now reached the point where all berries have universally transformed (it’s a real shame I still don’t know exactly what variety this is!).
The current Brix ° as I write is 13, or 7% potential alcohol. I’ll be leaving these grapes a further week or two to realise their potential alcohol, prior to picking them.
Yields for the MVN3 have proved to be best overall (but this is likely due to the different cane training I used on the vines last winter). I will be training all varieties the same from this point on and looking forward to the 2017 vendange.