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September 30, 2010

The heat spell of the last week is a welcome reprieve from the mostly cool gray summer. Temperatures were in the low 100’s during the day but they fell to the low 50’s at night. Short Fall days and cool nights make a heat spell not only tolerable, but downright delightful.

I started sampling grapes for the fist time on Monday thinking we were still a week or two away. The first grape that I put into my mouth told the story. In a mere three days of 100 degree heat the berries had transformed. It is not rocket science to know when the flavor is ready, it is just experience. But the transformation is remarkable, yet indescribable, and this year it happened very quickly.

Last year we started on today’s date, September 30th, 2009. The news is still reporting that harvest is two weeks to one month behind “schedule.” Perhaps it is late for other vineyards, but it seems like every year I have to relearn the same thing; that the old vines march to their own drummer.

The first two photos are of old vine Zin clusters that I took just before this current heat spell and were not quite ripe. The last photo is of clusters we lost in the BIG one day heat spell on Aug 24th, we won’t be harvesting them, they are what we call “sour grapes”.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Thornton permalink
    October 3, 2010 4:24 pm

    Thanks for the beautiful photos and informative narrative
    One of these years I’ll get out there for the harvest..
    Pulling for the Giants today (Sunday last chance… )

    Keep up —

  2. Anni Tilt permalink
    October 12, 2010 7:06 pm

    Always good to hear about the latest, and it reminds me that our “cellar” is low. And btw, I think they call those heat-zapped grapes “raisins”. xoxo

    • October 13, 2010 1:11 pm

      So sorry to hear your “cellar” is low. Perhaps it needs some raisin’

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