Harvest 2019 is just weeks away and the anticipation builds. There is a lot of activity occurring as the winery is prepared to make way for fermentation tanks and processing grapes. New barrels are arriving, last of the vineyard work is being completed, and equipment checked. Of course, everything likes to break at about this time of year making a stressful time even more so.
Knowing when to begin to harvest grapes is a difficult task because you want to bring in the grapes at the optimal time. At LDV Winery, grape quality at harvest will dictate the wine that will be produced because we do very minimal manipulation of the grapes once they are in the winery. Throughout the growing season, we have been monitoring the amount of grape density on each vine and dropping fruit (green harvesting) when needed to ensure the remaining grapes are able to mature.
Measuring sugar levels (called brix) in the vineyard has begun. LDV uses a refractometer to determine the brix or sugar to water ratio within the grape. This measurement, in combination with tasting, visual analysis, and measuring the grape pH, will help us determine when to harvest.
Of course, monitoring the weather is also a key factor. Arizona’s monsoon weather that occurs during harvest time is a unique challenge that most other wine regions in the world do not have to handle. Monsoons can bring heavy rain, wind, and occasionally hail that can impact or devastate the grape crop. Weather can hurry harvest along or slow it down depending on the temperatures, precipitation, and humidity. Much of which are out of our control, but we must be prepared to respond.
With ten vintages under our belt, we find that no two years have been the same. We are hopeful for a good 2019 harvest and today everything points in that direction. The vineyard is filled with high quality grapes. But for now, it is a waiting game to determine when we start and finish. Fingers are crossed that all goes well.