We got a new camera at the vineyard today and I decided to take it out into the vineyard to break it in. It struck me how much progress the vineyard has made in the last few weeks, particularly in the varieties like Mourvedre and Grenache that seemed a long way off even at the beginning of October. I'll have a longer harvest report next week, but wanted to share two photos that give you a sense of what we're looking for in ripe red grapes. First, a good sign that the grapes are ripe: look at what the bees are going after.
One of the other things we look for is the grapes to start to deflate a little. At veraison, the berries are fully plump and firm to the touch. As they ripen, they get softer and softer, and eventually at ripeness they start to look like a balloon from which air has leaked out. A cluster of Mourvedre from a block we'll pick tomorrow is just right:
Finally, one more photo that captures what harvest feels like in the middle of the rush. We're picking different blocks every day, and there are times where a dozen bins of grapes are sitting together on the crushpad waiting to be processed. Then the bins are washed and re-stacked, ready for the next vineyard block. The bin stacks seem unusually high this year!