Raven's Call

Raven's Call
Haida Raven

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting close to harvest time!

Amazing how quickly the grapes are progressing. In just the last week, sugar levels have risen quite a bit, and the birds have found the Madeleine Angevine grapes (they are mostly about 15 Brix now). Last year (supposedly a far warmer summer with more degree days) I picked these the 27th of Sep, and they had 16.5 Brix, so these are pretty darn close to that.
Bird and rain damage
After noting the bird damage I decided we better cover all of them with bird netting.
The netted Madeleine Angevine Crop
The Regent grapes are turning rapidly, but are about a week behind the Mad Ang. But much more attractive!
 Regent grape crop
Regent Grapes
It's pretty easy to see why the varieties selected by WSU at Mt. Vernon for this area are preferred. Compare the two above with the Pinot noir from Willamette Valley.
Pinot noir 
Pinot blanc 
 Several of the grafted varieties that I have in test plantings had fruit this year.
Zweigelt rebe (a red, obviously)
 Pinot noir 71 (about the same as Pinot noir)
 Pinot noir Precoce (very much earlier - birds have really decimated this bunch)
 If the Madeleine Angevines keep splitting in the rain, I may decide to harvest them soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Turn, turn, turn...

Wow - the grapes are moving along quickly. The Regents in particular are turning color fast.
Regent Grapes
But the real beauties are the Madeleine Angevines:
The row shown above had no cluster thinning. Compare to the row I thinned to one cluster per shoot:
I intend to harvest and weigh separately to determine yield, and measure Brix to see if thinning produced more advanced ripening. I don't know if I'll have enough to vint separately to determine quality.
Even the Pinot noir are starting to show some color:
But they are clearly weeks behind the Regent. My grafted Pinot noir 77 clone is similar:
But the grafted clone Pinot noir Precoce is clearly way ahead of the others:

and the Pinot Blanc, while beautiful clusters, don't look very ripe..

I tested a few Mad Ang and Regent berries today and they were in the 12 to 15 Brix range. Need a couple more weeks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Véraison is a French term for "onset of ripening" in wine grapes. This is really the first year I can readily observe and appreciate the process with sufficient grape berries -- on our 3-year plants. First, the vineyard status on 3-Sep-10. (click any photo for high-res version).
Vineyard Overview

Madeleine Angevine heavy with fruit

Madeleine Angevine
The Mad Ang have a very nice crop - maybe even over-cropped for third year plants. One row (the one pictured above) had no cluster thinning, while the adjacent row was thinned to the best cluster per shoot. I intend to weigh and test resulting must from these two rows separately to see if I detect any notable differences in sugar, acidity or pH. As I say, the Mad Ang, (a white grape) are starting to turn translucent and in the sun you can see the seeds inside each berry.
Mad Ang cluster
Many clusters have nice-sized berries. The Regents (red grape) are not far behind, although the plant vigor, number of vigorous plants, and clusters per plant are all short of the Mad Ang - we will still have a decent crop. I'm guessing there might be 40 to 50 lbs of Regent.
Regent cluster turning
The Pinot noir and Pinot blanc at 3 years are still, for the most part, pretty pitiful compared to the Mad Ang and Regent. I did finally get a full trellis and drip irrigation installed, so that should help considerably. Only 3 or 4 plants of each set fruit this year, so I'll get a sample, but not enough for vinting.
Pinot noir and Pinot blanc
On the right side are second-year Pinot gris, and on the left (barely visible) are the second-year Siegerrebe. They really need better irrigation, as they are not even going to get large enough to reach a first trellis wire this year. Always something...