Time to harvest.
Madeleine Angevine 2010 Cropas shown below, with the recent rains, many berries were splitting, then they rapidly rotted. Even though last year I vowed to let them hang longer to get the sugar content up (last year we hit 16.5 Brix), I decided I had better pick if I was going to salvage anything.
About 10 to 20% of the fruit is rotting on the vine.First we picked the 8 vigorous plants that had no cluster thinning. The yield was 24 pounds of fruit. For 3rd year crop, 3 pounds per plant is not bad. Even steady-state mature plants should probably only give about 4 pounds per plant, given what I've read.
24 pounds Mad Ang from 8 unthinned 3-year plants
Then we picked 12 more plants of similar vigor, but for which I thinned each shoot to just the one main cluster per shoot. This yielded 28 pounds (shown in opening photo), or 2.3 pounds per plant. Logically, less. However, I could detect no difference in size, amount of rot, nor sugar content. Both these first two batches were crushed and measured separately, and they were the same Brix... 16.5, just like last year. With the 17 pounds more from the straggler plants, the total 2010 harvest was 69 pounds. The rotten berries were tediously picked out by hand, then we crushed.
Not having a de-stemmer, we did it the old-fashioned way, by hand.
Stems on left, crush in center, must on left.The must was left on the skins overnight, then pressed the next morning. This supposedly give enzymes a chance to break down some of the cells, releasing more juice on the crush, but without giving time for bitter components to come of of the skins. The newly-built press worked like a charm! Guess building a prototype was a worthwhile effort.
The pressAll done - must ready to ferment on the right. Just over 4 gallons. Pressed skins on the left go on the compost pile.
4 gallons 2010 Madeleine Angevine must ready to fermentThe vineyard looks sad without fruits.
Naked vineyard.But the Regents are still hanging in there. Should be a couple more weeks before we pick them. They show no signs of splitting, even though the sugar content has been nearly as high as the Mad Ang. Must have thicker skins.
RegentThe Mad Ang must was pretty high in acid, and low in sugar content. It was chaptalized up to 21.5 Brix, but no adjustment to acidity. We'll see.